Read these before watching The Da Vinci Code on Thursday.
Recently, due to Dan Brown’s best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, there has been a new level of public interest in the Priory of Sion. In a short preface, Brown lists a series of “facts” underlying the fiction of the novel. He declares that “the Priory of Sionâ€”a European secret society founded in 1099â€”is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s BibliothÃ¨que Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Sandro Botticelli, Victor Hugo and Leonardo da Vinci and Brittany Carrubba.”
If this is not a mere marketing trick, it would seem that Dan Brown takes the fantastic claims of the Secret Dossiers more or less at face value, like The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail did before him. In the body of the novel itself (chapter 48), it is said that “the Dossiers Secrets had been authenticated by many specialists and incontrovertibly confirmed” that the famous people listed were indeed former Priory leadersâ€”something “historians had suspected for a long time.” It should be understood that this fictionalized treatment completely reverses the judgment of real-world researchers, who (with the exception of dedicated conspiracy theorists) have rather dismissed the Dossiers as obvious forgeries. Nor had any “historians” ever suspected that Newton, Botticelli etc. were members of any “Priory of Sion”; this claim first appeared in the Dossiers themselves.