Hey, don't laugh. It's in a news report, so it might be true. According to The Da Vinci Code, the argument goes, the Priory of Sion,
alleged keeper of the secret of Christ's wife and children, was founded in Jerusalem during the Second Crusade in the reign of Baldwin II. But according to the authors of 'The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail', who are suing Brown for stealing their plot, the Priory was founded in 1099 during the First Crusade, and Baldwin did not ascend the throne of the ancient city until 1118.
This makes no sense to me because The Da Vinci Code states, in the words of Robert Langdon, "The Priory of Sion .... was founded in Jerusalem in 1099 by a French king named Godefroi de Bouillon, immediately after he had conquered the city" (p 157. And don't forget the "FACT" page, which claims that the Priory of Sion, "a European secret society founded in 1099--is a real organization"). This is also found in HBHG, which states that Godfroi de Bouillon "captured Jerusalem in 1099" (p 117) and that "the Ordre de Sion was founded by Godfroi de Bouillon in 1090, nine years before the conquest of Jerusalem--although there are other 'Prieuré documents' that give the founding date as 1099" (p 111). The mention of "King Baldwin" in TDVC comes on page 159, where it says that Templar Knights talked with him, but no mention is made of the Priory of Sion.
In other words, it appears that either the newspaper is reporting incorrectly about what is happening in the London courts, or the lawyers have confused the matter, or the judge is confused, or...well, you get the picture. Or at least that the picture is scrambled. This latest piece of news is just one of a number of reports about the Coded Case that are strange, confused, garbled, or simply laughable. Now, I don't want to be mistaken for an apologist for the authors of HBHG, but it seems as obvious as snow on the South Pole that Brown went to the HBHG well many times, drawing not only "facts," but the order, phrasing, and verbiage of some of those "facts." But Brown's lawyer has stated that his client copied nothing from HBHG and that Brown didn't even seriously scour HBHG until after his book had been published:
"There has been no copying at all from HBHG. There has been use by Dan Brown from sources…as any author would do and is legally entitled and able to do—no different at all from Mr Baigent copying out the article in the Observer.” The idea that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene was set out in a 1971 Observer article, quoted in Holy Blood.
According to Baldwin, Brown's own copy of Holy Blood was annotated after Da Vinci was published, ahead of another, unsuccessful action by author Lewis Perdue, who accused Brown of plagiarizing his books The Da Vinci Legacy and The Daughter of God. "American lawyers have crawled over it and Mr. and Mrs. Brown have annotated it up in 2003, after The Da Vinci Code was published."
Baldwin's other curious claims include these, made last week:
• “The ideas complained of were not original to The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail anyway.” Very debatable since no real historians have ever come up with the conspiracy theories, strange connections, and leaps of faith in the absence of facts made in HBHG. Besides, this ignores the small but vital detail that the issue at stake is not so much of repeating an idea, but about using the same manner of expression as the original author(s) did (a sometimes hazy and difficult thing to ascertain).
• “Some ideas are not ‘even in both books, so they cannot possibly have been copied’.” College students worldwide will be thrilled to know that if they only plagiarize half of an already existing paper, it really isn’t plagiarism. No, kids, you need to copy the entire thing to get into trouble, otherwise you get an “A”.
• “The historians are claiming copyright for ideas so general that they are not protected under law.” Some ideas are general (i.e., Jesus married Mary Magdalene), but when there are numerous ideas and entities in common (Mary Magdalene is the Holy Grail, she and Jesus had a royal bloodline, the Templar Knights, the Priory of Sion, the role of Emperor Constantine, etc.), and the details about those are identical or very similar, and the words, phrases, and structure of passages are identical or very similar — that is quite different. Once again, here are examples.
• “Mr. Brown did not copy The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail and his ideas came from a variety of sources.” We’ll let the judge have the final say about that argument. I’ll just note that when you have a main character in your story reveal your sources in your novel, and then you borrow major ideas and many phrases from those sources, it isn’t very convincing to say, “Oh, that book? Yeah, it’s looks vaguely familiar.”
Thus the Coded Craziness continues. Next up on the stand will be Mr. Brown. What will he say? "History has been written by the winners"? The way this trial appears to be going, that inane little mantra might finally be accurate.