cover image The Grail Code: Revelations of an Ancient Mystery

The Grail Code: Revelations of an Ancient Mystery

Mike Aquilina, Christopher Bailey, . . Loyola, $19.95 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-8294-2159-0

The Nazis wanted it; Indiana Jones risked his life for it; and it plays a substantial role in the legendary stories of King Arthur. What is so intriguing about the Holy Grail, the cup that, according to Christian Gospel accounts, Jesus used at the Last Supper? Aquilina (v-p of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology) and writer Bailey attempt to answer this question. From medieval Christian piety to contemporary popular culture, the authors provide an intriguing historical study of the lore that arose around the Grail. Aquilina and Bailey believe that what draws people to search for the Grail has little to do with a cup, but rather the cup "[s]till represents that unfulfilled longing for the divine that all of us feel." They present a traditionalist perspective, which at times comes across as judgmental and even outright rude, using phrases like "coarse and ignorant louts," "hack writers" and "the wacky fringe" for ad hominem attacks on people they do not appreciate. The work would be stronger if Aquilina and Bailey had avoided such tactics and stuck to their historical pursuits. Still, readers looking for a conservative historical treatment of the Holy Grail will find much to appreciate. (May 15)