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Eras Journal - Berry, G. Abstract

Abstract of Berry, G. A Contemporary Version of the Grail Quest: Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and its failed appropriation of the mythic legend.

Myth can often be seen to supply a response to the yearning of the world, and the legend of the Holy Grail is no exception. The latest version of the quest, Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, reveals the two sides of the coin that make a mythic symbol mysterious, unattainable, and yet so tantalisingly real. On the one hand, the goal must inspire us to reach beyond the everyday world toward a greater reality, where mystical qualities and moral certitude rest alongside abundance and healing. On the other, this very 'sacred space' cannot actually be realised in material terms, as the very nature of the mythic realm impels the goal to be continuously shifted beyond the grasp of we ordinary mortals. Sadly for readers whose interest may have been piqued by the plot of Brown's telling of the age-old romance, this quest stumbles over itself in an attempt to over-subscribe to its facet as material fact, and is thereby dissolved of any real power in its other aspect, that of inspiration. For Browns' premise, tying as it does the idea of the Grail to the specific historic moment of Mary Magdalene's relationship with Jesus Christ, ultimately empties the quest of any real hope at all. Unless, that is, we are actually willing to believe not only that they shared wedlock and a child, but that their descendents may offer some kind of political challenge to an oppressively patriarchal religious regime on our behalf.

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