Well, I've finished The Messianic Legacy by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln. The book, written in 1986 and a sequel to Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982), is showing up in bookstores. Due, in large part, to the popularity of Dan Brown's The Divinci Code. No I'm not going to explain the connection here. Go read the books for yourself. :)
In their book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the authors postulate that not only did Jesus Christ not die cruxified 2000 years ago, but he survived, was married and had children. And furthermore the authors state that the Merovingian's were decended from him.
Sounds pretty wacky, huh?
Well, in addition to this they state there is a "secret society" that through the ages, since about 1100 A.D., that has been trying to re-establish a Merovingian decendant back to power.
In The Messianic Legacy the authors postulate on Jesus' life and the beginnings of Christianity, then they go deeper into the "secret society", called The Prieuré de Sion.
They contend that Jesus was a decendant of King David, that he and his followers were trying to return The Messiah to power. They also state that every king of Israel was referred to as "Messiah". As opposed to this being some special sobriquet for Jesus. In his bid to regain power Jesus was apparently associated with a group know at the time as "Zealots", for being "Zealous for the Law", Jewish law one would presume. This would explain Jesus' ire at the entrenched religious bureaucracy.
Their assertations about the Prieuré de Sion are, at first glance, a little harder to swallow. That there has been an organization that for the better part of a millenium has been working towards a goal or purpose, is hard for us to fathom. Sometimes I think Americans have a hard time looking a single year ahead. If we look around we can find evidence of other organizations as old or older. The Catholic Church is well over a thousand years old. The Knights of Malta have existed for about 500 years, they even have a website. So it is possible for such organizations to exist.
This makes for pretty interesting reading and it makes a lot of sense, the way they present it. I am not a biblical scholar (IANABS?), so I can't double check their or their sources' research.
Does all of this sound farfetched? Perhaps. However the topics do appear to be well researched and the conclusions seem to fall in line with what they state as facts.
The Messianic Legacy is well written, if you enjoy non-fiction. There are some places that are hard to get through. This isn't a novel, it's the result of research done by these authors and it reads as such. However it is written for the general audience and not for other researchers, but the prose is sometimes dry. Also you have to approach the book with an open mind. If you completely, 100% believe what established Christian religion has been promulgating for the past 1700 years you won't like this book. But if you tend to question everything you just might. If I hear you yelling "Burn the Heretic!", I'll know into which camp you fall.