A tale of 12th-century monks peddling sanctity for cash holds a lesson for today’s fearful Christians
The truth is out and in the headlines. Back in 1184 the monks of Glastonbury fabricated an edifice of myth about their monastery’s past for pecuniary gain. No, Christ did not come with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, to “walk on England’s green and pleasant land”. No, Joseph never brought the holy grail to the Somerset Levels. No, the churchyard thornbush was not his staff, let alone the crown of thorns. And no, the burial pit is not that of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. It was all made up by canny monks with a Disneyland fixation.
We might wonder how many academics does it take to disprove a load of cock-and-bull. The answer is 31, if they come from the Reading University archaeology department. And they probably got a grant for it. I am tempted to accuse them of cruelty to hippies and new age nutters. Everyone “knows” the holy grail was taken from Glastonbury to Strata Florida after the dissolution, and then hidden in Nanteos Mansion outside Aberystwyth. It was seen there by Wagner when composing Parsifal. It now resides in a Hereford bank vault. A facsimile of the chewed and broken cup sits on my desk. Very holy it is too. Any more nonsense from Reading and I shall sue.
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