Monday, 14 February 2011

Dan Brown, the Taliban, and the da Vinci Code

Could Jesus be executed a second time under the original warrant in the second coming?  This was the legal advice sought by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd century AD.

Aurelius was concerned at the growing power of the Christians. It wasn’t just that they were undermining the  Coalition, sorry, the Senate, by suggesting getting into each others bottoms was wrong. It was because they kept talking about a second coming - Jesus had caused enough sodded problems to Rome in the first coming.

Aurelius couldn't be certain Jesus wouldn't reappear in his reign. After all, Roman enquiries after the crucifixion had led to whatever is Latin for an X-Files mystery. No-one survives a Roman crucifixion! Even without the spear thrusts, leg breaking, and being half beaten to death beforehand. Not only that no corpse had ever disappeared from a tomb that Roman soldiers were guarding (to stop the body from being pinched for political reasons). Then, the Jew had been seen by loads of eye witnesses as well after the crucifixion. Even the sceptic Thomas claimed he’d seen Jesus after the crucifixion.

So Aurelius sought advice from the Jurist known simply as Gaius today. Gaius had just finished writing a fine treatise on Jurisprudence and Roman Law, in an age where law was meaningful because the Germans and French had nothing to do with writing it, like they do with British Law today.

Aurelius asked Gaius to prepare advice on the legal status Jesus would have under Roman Law after coming back from the dead. He also wanted to know whether the original warrant to execute him would still be valid two hundred years later. Aurelius told Gaius to report only to him. So Gaius went off and appended his advice to his manuscript.

Gaius explained in the appendix that although Christians were legally punishable at the time, there was a case for wrongful execution of Jesus Christ.  In this case he wrote that as wrongful execution is the greatest damage the State could do to a person, if that person came back from the dead he could claim the greatest damages - the Emperorship of Rome itself.

This wasn't really what the Emperor wanted to hear.  He wanted to hear that it was legal to invade Iraq, sorry, legal to re-execute the man if he re-appeared.

If the advice leaked out it would have politically strengthened the Christians no end. Aurelius instructed a murderer to kill Gaius after he didn't change his view about invading Iraq, sorry, about re-executing Christ and to destroy the devastating appendix to the treatise. Aurelius could then claim Gaius advised him that the original warrant had no sell by date.

After doing the deed the murderer suffered remorse and hid the last folio containing the devastating advice, together with Gaius's personal notes about his meeting with the Emperor. The advice never reached the Christians who had never thought about Jesus’s legal status and rights following wrongful execution.

They didn’t realise their leader was owed the Emperorship of Rome under Roman jurisprudence.

This advice and Gaius’s personal notes which the murderer kept was lost.  The main part of the treatise was eventually written over by a Christian, as they're not all that bright, and forgotten about - it became a palimpsest.

It was discovered in 1816 when it was noticed that there were layers of writings beneath St Jerome's writing kept in the Cathedral Chapter at Verona.  The lowest level of writing was that lost treatise on Roman Law by Gaius. However, the last folio was missing. The existence of this palimpsest and the lost folio is well known amongst scholars of Ancient Law (see footnote).

The lost folio containing the advice that Jesus was owed the Emperorship of Rome and Gaius's personal notes were eventually found buried at Uruzgan. It was first translated in secret, by a scholarly associate of Muhammad Omar - later know as the ‘Teacher’. He founded the Students – the Taliban. Taliban means ‘student’.

In the battle of faith between the Christians and the Muslims, Omar understood, like Marcus Aurelius before him, the encouragement Christianity would get if the manuscript was made public. Omar destroyed the manuscript, which also inspired Omar to renew Islam to help counter any possible renewal of Christianity,

Dan Brown – who was actually a sort of mini Indiana Jones before becoming famous - stumbled across the content of the manuscript from a ‘student’ visiting the West. The student was later killed in the fighting. Brown was unsure whether the ‘student’ had confessed to the Taliban of his indiscretion. So Dan Brown wrote the Da Vinci Code as a coded message to prevent any potential assassination plot against him-after all he was in possession of the secret that could cause an upsurge in Christianity and end to Islam, the main counter revolution to Christianity.

He used much code in the book. The term ‘Teacher’ was used as code to let them know the book was written for them - to let them know their secret was safe in his hands.  He used the term ‘unworthy ones’ to refer to Americans, whom he made out were so stupid that they would confuse balls Galileo dropped with Newton’s apple. Brown wrote that Newton, rather than Galileo, angered the Vatican and deliberately used other anomalies as code which he knew the intelligent Omar would understand. To make it even clearer the book was intended for them he modelled Robert Langdon on himself, as a scholar in danger in the book  - The Da Vinci Code .

 'Rome' now refers to the Church.        
There was a transfer of power after all........

Note: Details of the discovery of the Gaius palimpsest in 1816 has been taken from the Preface to the Second Edition of the Institutionum Iuris Civilis Commentarii Quatuor (Elements of Roman Law) published in M.DCCC.LXXV (1875) by Oxford University Press. The growth of the Church, centred in Rome, as the Roman Empire declined, is familiar history of course.