Today we shall embark upon the time-honoured Quest for the Holy Grail. Some have called it the Ultimate Quest, but the Christian Church has condemned it as a heresy.
A Christian heresy is described as 'an opinion which is contrary to the orthodox dogma of the Christian bishops' and, in this regard, those other quests which comprise much of today's scientific and medical research are equally heretical.
The word 'heresy' is, in essence, nothing more than a derogatory label - a tag used by a fearful Church establishment that has long sought to maintain control of society through fear of the unknown.
A heresy can therefore define those aspects of philosophy and research which quest into the realms of the unknown and which, from time to time, provide answers and solutions that are quite contrary to Church doctrine.
In Christian terms, most of the world's population is heretical, because the Christian Church (which defines its own heresies) represents little more than a quarter of that population. As for the remaining three-quarters - the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others - they are all, by definition, heretics and infidel.
Only 365 years ago, the Italian scientist Galileo announced that the Earth was in motion around the sun (a discovery by the Polish astronomer, Copernicus) and for this the Church proclaimed him a heretic.
As a result, Galileo was hauled before the Catholic Inquisition and kept under house arrest for ten years until he died.
Soon afterwards, Isaac Newton pursued the concept of orbital force, but he too was condemned and it was not until recently, in 1992, that the Church finally admitted that the Earth was in solar orbit.
Indeed, it was not until the summer of 1996 that the notion of Hell was abolished by the General Synod of the Anglican Church, and it was this very notion which had caused such problems for Galileo, Newton and others.
The Catholic Church , on the other hand, maintains the notion of Hell - and so, in the eyes of Rome, the Anglican Protestants have now become heretics in this regard.
Historically, as far as the Christian Church was concerned, the Earth was flat and at the centre of the Universe. Heaven was above the Earth and Hell was below.
Consequently, the Earth had to be motionless and could not possibly be in orbital motion unless Heaven and Hell moved as well - which, it was maintained, they did not.
1996 was also the year when Pope John Paul formally acknowledged Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution — proclaiming it to be 'quite compatible' with the Christian faith. But, hitherto, all scientists and scholars who upheld the principles of evolution were classified as heretics.
Additionally, the Vatican has now established a Miracles Council, consisting of scientists, medical men and theologians. Their brief is straightforward: to investigate ancient and modern miracles so as to determine what does and what does not fall into the category.
If a plausible and acceptable reasoning can be found for a said miracle, then it is taken off the miracles list. If not, then it stays on the list until such time as a logical explanation is put forward by the Council.
And so, one by one, yesterday's heresies (for which so many have been persecuted and executed) are being accepted by the Church's more rational members. But there is, nevertheless, a significant element that prefers to retain the old dogma - creating a modern schism in the very structure of the Church itself.
As the years progress, it is evident that scientific and medical discovery must overturn much of the medieval religious dogma that has persisted to modern times. And, in this regard, some previously cited heresies are already being taken on board by a Church that has little option to do otherwise.
But there are also other forms of heresy: heresies with an essentially spiritual base - the heresies which may be called pagan or occult and those which form the very roots of religions other than Christianity.
Then there are the historical heresies: those which do not immediately fall within the realms of science, medicine or philosophy, but whose testing and questing fall mainly to historians, linguists and theologians.
It is in this particular category that we find the Quest for the Holy Grail and, in pursuing the Quest, it becomes increasingly apparent why the Church pronounced Grail lore to be a heresy when society at large perceives the Grail to be a thoroughly Christian relic.
Quests are, by their very nature, intriguing and historical research is enlightening, but the findings from neither are of any use whatever unless there are present-day applications which, like science and medicine, can sow the seeds of a better future.
History is no more than recorded experience - generally the experience of its winners - and it is common sense to learn from the experience of yesterday. Indeed, it is that very experience which holds the moral, cultural, political and social keys of tomorrow - and it is in this context that the Holy Grail supports its own Messianic code.
This is the code of social practice instituted by Jesus when he washed his apostles' feet at the Last Supper. It pertains to the obligations of giving and receiving 'service'.
It determines that those in positions of elected authority and influence should always be aware of their duties as 'representatives' of society, obligated to Serve society, not to presume authority over society.
The Grail Code is the essential key to democratic government. This is defined as government BY the people FOR the people. Without the implementation of the Code, we experience the only too familiar government OF the people. This is not democratic government.
In the course of our journey, we shall discuss many items which are thoroughly familiar, but we shall be looking at them from a different perspective to that normally conveyed.
In this regard it will appear that we are often treading wholly new ground, but it was, in fact, only the ground that existed before it was carpeted and concealed by those with otherwise vested interests. Only by rolling back this carpet of purposeful concealment can we succeed in our quest for the Holy Grail.
Our quest will begin in the Holy Land of Judaea in the time of Jesus, and we shall spend a good while there so as to set the emergent scene. We shall then progress through 2000 years of history to the present day - travelling through the Dark Ages to spend some time in medieval Europe.
The Grail mystery will then be followed into King Arthur's Britain and, eventually, even to the United States, where the American fathers were among the greatest exponents of the Grail Code.
Eminent Americans such as George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Thompson and Thomas Jefferson were as much champions of the Holy Grail as were King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Galahad.
[url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=humarefre-20&keywords=Bloodline of the Holy]Bloodline of the Holy Grail[/url] has been described as The Book of Messianic Descent and it carries the subtitle The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed. This of course indicates that Jesus had children and, by implication therefore, that he was married.
So was he married? Did he have children? If so, do we know what became of them? Are their descendants alive today? The answer to each of these questions is 'yes'.
We shall be looking at the emergent family in some detail, following their story, century by century - the story of a resolute royal dynasty: the descendant heirs of Jesus, who struggled against all odds to preserve the Messianic initiative of the Holy Grail.
Our story is one of conspiracy; of usurped crowns, persecutions, assassinations and the unwarranted concealment of information from the people of the Christian world.
It is an account of good government and bad government; about how the patriarchal kingship of people was supplanted by dogmatic tyranny and the dictatorial lordship of lands.
It is a compelling journey of discovery: a view of past ages, but with its eye firmly set upon the future. This is history as it was once written, but has never been told.
Let us begin with the most obvious of all questions: What is the Holy Grail? How is the Holy Grail connected with the descendant heirs of Jesus?
The fact that Jesus had descendants might come as a surprise to some, but it was widely known in Britain and Europe until the late Middle Ages.
In medieval times, the line of Messianic descent was defined by the French word Sangréal - deriving from the two words Sang Réal, meaning 'Blood Royal'. This was the Blood Royal of Judah: the kingly line of David which progressed through Jesus and his heirs.
In English translation, the definition Sangréal became 'San Graal' (as in San Francisco). When written more fully it was 'Saint Grail' - the word 'saint', of course, relating to 'holy'. Then, by a natural linguistic process, came the more romantically familiar term, 'Holy Grail'.
From the Middle Ages there were a number of chivalric and military orders specifically attached to the Messianic Blood Royal in Britain and Europe. They included the Order of the Realm of Sion and the Order of the Sacred Sepulchre.
But the most prestigious of all was the Sovereign Order of the Sangréal - the Knights of the Holy Grail. This was a dynastic Order of Scotland's Royal House of Stewart.
In symbolic terms the Grail is often portrayed as a chalice that contains the blood of Jesus; alternatively as a vine of grapes.
The product of grapes is wine, and it is the chalice and the wine of Grail tradition that sit at the very heart of the Holy Communion (the Eucharist). In this sacrament, the sacred chalice contains the wine that represents the perpetual blood of Jesus.
It is quite apparent that, although maintaining the ancient Communion custom, the Christian Church has conveniently ignored and elected not to teach the true meaning and origin of the custom.
Few people even think to enquire about the ultimate symbolism of the Chalice and Wine sacrament, believing that it comes simply from some Gospel entries relating to the Last Supper.
What is the significance of the perpetual blood of Jesus? How is the blood of Jesus (or of anyone else for that matter) perpetuated?
It is perpetuated through family and lineage. So why was it that the Church authorities elected to ignore the 'bloodline' significance of the Grail sacrament? Indeed, why was it that they went so far as to denounce Grail lore and Grail symbolism as heretical?
The fact is that every Government and every Church teaches the form of history or dogma most conducive to its own vested interest. In this regard we are all conditioned to receiving a very selective form of teaching.
We are taught what we are supposed to know, and we are told what we're supposed to believe.
But, for the most part, we learn both political and religious history by way of national or clerical propaganda, and this often becomes absolute dogma: teachings which may not be challenged for fear of reprisals.
With regard to the Church's attitude towards the chalice and the wine, it is blatantly apparent that the original symbolism had to be reinterpreted by the bishops because it denoted that Jesus had offspring and, therefore, that he must have united with a woman.
But it was not only sacraments and customary ritual that were reinterpreted; the very Gospels themselves were corrupted to comply with the 'male-only' establishment of the Church of Rome - much like a modern film editor will adjust and select the takes to achieve the desired result.
We are all familiar with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - but what about the other Gospels: those of Philip, of Thomas, of Mary and of Mary Magdalene ?
What of all the numerous Gospels, Acts and Epistles that were not approved by the Church councils when the New Testament was compiled? Why were they excluded when the choices were made?
There were actually two main criteria for selection, and these (from an earlier short-list prepared by Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria) were originally determined at the Council of Carthage in the year AD 397, to be finally ratified in the later Renaissance era.
The first criterion was that the New Testament Gospels must be written in the names of Jesus's own apostles. Matthew was, of course, an apostle, as was John - but Mark was not an apostle of Jesus as far as we know; neither was Luke; they were both colleagues of the later St Paul.
Thomas, on the other hand, was one of the original twelve, and yet the Gospel in his name was excluded. Not only that but, along with various other texts, it was sentenced to be destroyed.
And so, throughout the Mediterranean world, numerous unapproved books were buried and hidden in the 5th century.
Only in recent times have some of these early manuscripts been unearthed, with the greatest of all discoveries made (after 1500 years) in 1945 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt.
Although these books were not rediscovered until this present century, they were used openly by the early Christians.
Certain of them, including the Gospels mentioned, along with the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of the Egyptians and others, were actually mentioned in the 2nd-century writings of early churchmen such as Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyon and Origen of Alexandria.
So, why were these and other apostolic Gospels not selected? Because there was a second, far more important criterion to consider - the criterion by which, in truth, the Gospel selection was really made.
It was, in fact, a wholly sexist regulation which precluded anything that upheld the status of women in Church or community society.
Indeed, the Church's own Apostolic Constitutions were formulated on this basis. They state, 'We do not permit our women to teach in the Church, only to pray and to hear those who teach. Our master, when he sent us the twelve, did nowhere send out a woman; for the head of the woman is the man, and it is not reasonable that the body should govern the head'.
This was an outrageous statement with no apparent foundation, but it was for this very reason that dozens of Gospels were not selected, because they made it quite clear that there were many active women in the ministry of Jesus: women such as Mary Magdalene, Martha, Helena-Salome, Mary-Jacob Cleophas and Joanna.
These were not only ministering disciples, but priestesses in their own right, running exemplary schools of worship in the Nazarene tradition.
In his Epistle to the Romans, St Paul makes specific mention of his own female helpers: Phoebe, for example, whom he called a 'sister of the Church' - along with Julia, and Priscilla who 'laid down her neck for the Cause'.
Writings of the Gospel era are simply alive with women disciples, but the Church ignored them all. When the Precepts of Ecclesiastical Discipline were drawn up, they stated, 'It is not permitted for a woman to speak in Church, nor to claim for herself a share in any masculine function'.
The Church of Rome was so frightened of women that it implemented a rule of celibacy for its priests - a rule that became a law in 1138: a rule that persists today. But this rule has never been quite what it appears on the surface, for it was never sexual activity as such that bothered the Church.
The more specific problem was priestly intimacy with women. Why? Because women become wives and mothers - and the very nature of motherhood is a perpetuation of bloodlines. It was this that bothered the Church: a taboo subject which, at all costs, had to be separated from the necessary image of Jesus.
However, it was not as if the Bible had said any such thing. In fact, quite the reverse was the case.
St Paul had actually said in his first Epistle to Timothy that a bishop should be married to one wife and that he should have children, for a man with experience in his own family household is actually far better qualified to take care of the Church.
But, even though the Roman Church authorities claimed to uphold the teaching of St Paul in particular, they chose completely to disregard this explicit directive to suit their own ends, so that Jesus's marital status could be strategically ignored.
Notwithstanding this, the Church's celibate, unmarried image of Jesus was at variance with other writings of the Gospel era, and it was openly contradicted in the public domain until the perpetuation of the truth was proclaimed a punishable heresy (only 450 years ago) at the Italian Council of Trento in 1547 (the year that Henry VIII Tudor died in England).
It is, however, not just the Christian New Testament which suffers from these sexist restrictions. A similar editing process was applied to the Hebrew Old Testament, making it conveniently suitable to be added to the Christian Bible.
This is made particularly apparent by a couple of entries that bypassed the editors' scrutiny. The books of Joshua and 2-Samuel both refer to the importance of the more ancient [url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=humarefre-20&keywords=The Book of]book of Jasher[/url]. But where is this book? Like so many others of equal importance, it is not to be found in the Bible!
Does the book of Jasher still exist? It certainly does. The nine-foot Hebrew scroll was a jewel of the Court of Emperor Charlemagne and the translation of the [url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=humarefre-20&keywords=The Book of]book of Jasher[/url] was the very reason that the University of Paris was founded in the year 800 - more than a century before the now familiar version of the Old Testament was compiled.
Jasher was the personal staff-bearer to Moses, and the writings attributed to him are of enormous significance. The accounts relate to the Israelite sojourn in Egypt and tell of their exodus into Canaan.
But they differ considerably from the version of the story that we know today. They explain that it was not Moses, but Miriam who was the spiritual leader of the tribes who crossed the Red Sea to Mount Sinai.
At that time, the Jews had never heard of Jehovah; they worshiped the goddess Asherah and their spiritual leaders were largely female.
Indeed, Miriam posed such a problem for Moses in his attempt to create a new environment of male dominance that he imprisoned her, whereupon the Israelites rose up against Moses to secure Miriam's release. This is in the [url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=humarefre-20&keywords=The Book of]book of Jasher[/url], but it is not in the Bible.
Let us now move to where the Christian story began - to the Gospels themselves. And, in doing this, let us first consider what the Gospels actually tell us, against what we perhaps think they tell us.
We have all learned to go along with what we are taught about the Gospels in schoolrooms and churches. But is the teaching correctly related? Does it always conform with the written scriptures?
It is actually quite surprising how much we learn from pulpits or picture-books without checking the biblical text. The Nativity story itself provides a good example.
It is widely accepted (as the Christmas cards keep reminding us) that Jesus was born in a stable - but the Gospels do not say that. In fact, there is no 'stable' mentioned in any authorised Gospel. The Nativity is not mentioned at all in Mark or John, and Matthew makes it quite plain that Jesus was born 'in a house'.
So where did the stable idea come from? It came from a misinterpretation of the Gospel of Luke which relates that Jesus was 'laid in a manger' (not 'born', as often misquoted, but 'laid') and a manger was, and still is, nothing more than an animal feeding-box.
In practice, it was perfectly common for mangers to be used as emergency cradles and they were often brought indoors for that very purpose.
So why has it been presumed that this particular manger was in a stable? Because the English translations of Luke tell us that there was 'no room in the inn'. But the old manuscript of Luke did not say that.
In fact, there were no inns in the region - travellers lodged in private houses and family hospitality was a normal way of life in those days.
In fact, if we are really going to be precise, there were no stables in the region either. 'Stable' is an English word that specifically defines a place for keeping horses. But few (apart from some Roman officers) ever used horses in 1st-century Judaea - they mainly used mules and oxen which, if kept under cover at all, would have been in some type of outhouse - certainly not a stable.
As for the mythical inn, the original Greek text of Luke does not relate that there was 'no room in the inn'. By the best translation it actually states that there was 'no provision in the room' (i.e. 'no topos in the kataluma').
As previously mentioned, Matthew states that Jesus was born in a house and, when correctly translated, Luke reveals that Jesus was laid in a manger (an animal feeding box) because there was no cradle provided in the room.
While on the subject of Jesus's birth, we ought to look at the chronology here, because the two Gospels which deal with the Nativity actually give different dates for the event. According to Matthew, Jesus was born in the reign of Herod the Great, who debated the event with the Magi and apparently ordered the slaying of the infants.
King Herod died in the notional year 4 BC - so we know from Matthew that Jesus was born before that. Indeed, because of this, most standard concordance Bibles give 5 BC as Jesus's date of birth.
In Luke, however, a completely different date is given. This Gospel states that Jesus was born while Cyrenius was Governor of Syria - the same year that Emperor Augustus implemented the national taxing census which caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem.
There are two relevant points to mention here, both of which are recorded in the 1st-century Jewish annals (such as The Antiquities of the Jews).
Cyrenius was not appointed Governor of Syria until AD 6, and this was the very year that Emperor Augustus implemented the census, which was supervised by Cyrenius himself.
So Jesus appears to have been born on two separate occasions: 'before 4 BC' and again 'in AD 6'.
Is there a mistake in one of the Gospels? Not necessarily - at least not in the way things were originally portrayed. We are actually looking at two quite specific births: Jesus's 'physical' birth and his 'community' birth. These were defined as the 'first' and 'second' births - the second being an initiation into society by way of a ritual ceremony of rebirth.
Second births for boys took place at the age of twelve (a ceremony in which they were ritualistically born again from their mother's womb).
And so we know from Luke that Jesus was twelve in AD 6. Unfortunately, the latter-day Gospel translators and transcribers completely missed the significance of this, while subsequent Church teachings combined the Matthew and Luke accounts into one, giving rise to the spurious nonsense about a Nativity scene in a stable.
Since Jesus was twelve in AD 6 (as given in Luke), then he was actually born in 7 BC, which was indeed during the late reign of Herod the Great as related in Matthew. But we now discover what appears to be another anomaly.
The Luke Gospel then says that when Jesus was twelve years old, his parents, Mary and Joseph, took him to Jerusalem for the day - only to walk homewards for a full day's journey with their friends before they realised that Jesus was not in their party. Then they returned to Jerusalem to find him at the temple discussing his father's business with the doctors.
In reality, what sort of parents would wander for a whole day in the desert, without knowing their twelve-year-old son was not with them?
The fact is that the whole point of the passage has been lost in the translation, for there was a wealth of difference between a twelve-year-old son and a son in his twelfth year.
When a son, on completing his initial twelve years (that is to say, on reaching his thirteenth birthday) was initiated into the community at the ceremony of his Second Birth, he was regarded as commencing his first year.
It was the original root of the modern bar mitzvah. His next initiation - the initiation of manhood in the community - took place in his ninth year, when he was twenty-one (the root of the age-twenty-one privilege). Various 'degrees' then followed and the next major test was at the end of his twelfth year: at the age of twenty-four.
It is, therefore, apparent that when Jesus remained at the temple in his twelfth year, he was actually twenty-four years-old - not twelve. As for his discussion with the doctors, this would have related to his next degree - the degree set by his spiritual father, whose business he discussed.
At that time, his spiritual father (the overall patriarch) was Simeon the Essene - and we see, in Luke, that it was precisely this man (the 'just and devout Simeon') who had legitimated Jesus under the law.
So, can we trust the Gospels? The answer to this question is 'yes', we can trust them to a point, but we cannot trust the convoluted and distorted versions which are published and presented to us today.
Subsequent to the original apostolic writings, the Gospels of the early Church were written in 2nd and 3rd century Greek.
Along with the Bible as a whole, they were translated into Church Latin in the 4th century, but it was then to be more than a thousand years before any English translation was made.
The present English-language Gospels date back to the Authorized Bible compiled for King James VI Stuart of Scots (James I of England) in the early 17th century.
This was published and set into print no more than 165 years before America's Declaration of Independence - only a few years before the first Pilgrim Fathers set sail from England.
Bible translation was, however, a risky business in those days. For daring to translate the Bible into English, the 14th-century reformer John Wycliffe was denounced as a heretic and his books were burned.
In the early 16th century William Tyndale was executed by strangulation in Belgium, and then burned just to ensure his death, for translating the Bible into English.
A little later, Miles Coverdale (a Tyndale disciple) made another translation but, at that stage, the Church had split into two main factions. As a result, Coverdale's version was accepted by the Protestant Church, although he remained a heretic in the eyes of Rome.
The problem was that, for as long as the printed text remained in an obscure form of Church Latin which only the bishops could understand or interpret, they could teach whatever they wanted.
But if it were translated into popular languages that people could read for themselves, the Church teachings would doubtless be open to question.
It is the Bible translated for King James upon which the majority of subsequent English-language editions have been based.
But, in practice, this 17th-century Authorized Version was not a direct translation from anything; it was mostly translated from the Greek, partly from the Latin and, to some extent, from the works of others who had made previous illegitimate translations.
In their rendering of the New Testament, King James's linguists endeavoured to appease both the Protestants and the Catholics. This was the only way to produce a generally acceptable text, but their ambition was not entirely successful.
The Catholics thought the translators were siding with the Protestants and tried to blow up King James in the Houses of Parliament (the famous Gunpowder Plot), while the Protestants maintained that the King was in league with the Catholics!
The translators were not only concerned with denominational appeasement; they also tried for something that we would today call 'political correctness'.
In one instance the direct translation referred to a group of people called 'heavenly soldiers', but this was crossed out and 'heavenly army' was inserted instead.
This, however, was deleted yet again (since the concept of an armed unit was not acceptable) to be replaced with 'heavenly host'.
The problem was that no one knew precisely what a 'host' was; the word had been resurrected after centuries of obscurity to enter the dictionaries of the era with the vague description: 'a lot of people'.
It is actually quite surprising how many ambiguous words were brought back into use to facilitate political correctness for the King James Bible while, at the same time, William Shakespeare was doing likewise in his plays.
Indeed, the English-language vocabulary was increased by more than fifty percent as a result of words invented or brought back from the mists of time by the writers of the period.
So, although eminently poetic, the language of the Authorized English Bible is quite unlike that ever spoken by anyone in England or anywhere else but, from this approved canonical interpretation, all other English-language Bibles have emerged in their various forms.
However, for all its faults and its beautifully designed verse pattern, it remains the closest of all translations from the original Greek manuscripts.
All other Anglicised versions (Standard, New English, Revised, Modern, Good News, etc.) have been significantly corrupted and they are quite unsuitable for serious study because they each have their own specific agenda.
An extreme version of how this works in practice is found in a Bible presently issued in Papua, Pacific New Guinea, where there are tribes who experience familiarity on a daily basis with no other animal but the pig.
In the current edition of their Bible, every animal mentioned in the text, whether originally an ox, lion, ass, sheep or whatever, is now a pig. Even Jesus, the traditional 'lamb of God', in this Bible is 'the pig of God'!
To facilitate the best possible trust in the Gospels, we must go back to the original Greek manuscripts with their often used Hebrew and Aramaic words and phrases.
In this respect, we discover that (just as with the Nativity story) a good deal of relevant content has been misrepresented, misunderstood, mistranslated, or simply just lost in the telling.
Sometimes this has happened because original words have no direct counterpart in other languages.
Christians are taught that Jesus's father Joseph was a carpenter, as explained in the English-language Gospels. But it did not say that in the original Gospels.
By the best translation, it actually said that Joseph was a Master of the Craft or Master Craftsman. The word 'carpenter' was simply a translator's concept of a craftsman.
Anyone associated with modern Freemasonry will recognise the term 'the Craft' and it has nothing whatever to do with woodwork. The text simply denoted that Joseph was a masterly, learned and scholarly man, and the description was especially concerned with matters of scientific metallurgy.
Another example is the concept of the Virgin Birth. English-language Gospels tell us that Jesus's mother Mary was a 'virgin' and, as we understand the word, it denotes a woman with no experience of sexual union.
But this was translated not from the Greek initially but from the Latin, which referred to her as being a virgo, meaning nothing more than a 'young woman'. To have meant the same thing as 'virgin' does today, the Latin would have been virgo intacta - that is to say, a 'young woman intact'.
Looking back beyond the Latin text we discover that the word translated to virgo (a young woman) was the old Semitic word almah which meant the very same: a 'young woman', and it had no sexual connotation whatever. Had Mary actually been physically virgo intacta, the Semitic word used would have been bethulah, not almah.
So, have we been completely misguided by the Gospels? No; we have been misguided by the English translations of the Gospels.
Also by a Church establishment that has done everything in its power to deny women any normal lifestyle in the Gospel story.
Hence, the New Testament's key women are portrayed as virgins, whores and sometimes widows - but never everyday girlfriends, wives or mothers, and certainly never priestesses or holy sisters.
Notwithstanding the Virgin Birth dogma, the Gospels tell us time and time again that Jesus was descended from King David through his father Joseph. Even St Paul explains this in his Epistle to the Hebrews.
But Christians are taught that Jesus's father was a lowly carpenter, while his mother was a virgin - neither of which descriptions can be found in any original text.
It follows, therefore, that to get the best out of the Gospels we have to read them as they were written, not as they have been interpreted according to Church doctrine and modern language.
Precisely when the four main Gospels were written is uncertain. What we do know is that they were first published at various stages in the second half of the first century. They were unanimous initially in revealing that Jesus was a Nazarene.
This is actually upheld in the Roman annals. Additionally, the 1st-century Jewish chronicles, along with the Bible's Acts of the Apostles, confirms that both Jesus's brother James and St Paul were leaders of the sect of the Nazarenes.
This Nazarene definition is very important to the Grail story because it has been so often misrepresented to suggest that Jesus came from the town of Nazareth.
For the past 400 years, English-language Gospels have perpetuated the error by wrongly translating 'Jesus the Nazarene' as 'Jesus of Nazareth', albeit there was no historical connection between Nazareth and the Nazarenes.
In fact, the settlement at Nazareth was established in the AD 60s, thirty years or so after the Crucifixion . Nobody in Jesus's early life came from Nazareth - it was not there!
The Nazarenes were a liberal Jewish sect opposed to the strict Hebrew regime of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The Nazarene culture and language were heavily influenced by the philosophers of ancient Greece and their community supported the concept of equal opportunity for men and women. Documents of the time referred not to Nazareth but to the Nazarene community, wherein priestesses coexisted in equal status with priests.
It has to be remembered, therefore, that Jesus was not a Christian: he was a Nazarene - a radical, westernised Jew. The Christian movement was founded by others in the wake of his own mission, with the word 'Christian' first recorded in AD 44 in Antioch, Syria.
In the Arab world, the word used to describe Jesus and his followers is nazara. This is confirmed in the Islamic Koran and the word means 'keepers' or 'guardians'. The full definition is Nazara ha-Brit: 'Keepers of the Covenant'.
In the time of Jesus, the Nazarenes lived in Galilee and in that mystical realm which the Bible calls the 'wilderness', which was actually a very defined place.
It was essentially the land around the main settlement at Qumrân which spread out to Mird and other places near the Dead Sea. It was, of course, at Qumrân that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1948.