As the world reacts to a papyrus alleging that Jesus Christ was married, Cranston resident Richard Sorensen isn’t convinced. A novice historian, he has dedicated much time to studying the Bible and researching religious figures. He believes the text is a fake.
But combining his years of research and a passion for writing, the 61-year-old Sorensen has created his own version of events in his first official foray into writing. “Unholy Grail” is a two-book series following the story of Judas Iscariot and Mary Magdalene.
“It was a long journey; a very interesting journey, though,” he said.
Sorensen has been working on the story for nearly 15 years. He is a full-time software engineer, and he and his wife stay busy with their children and as parishioners at the Cranston Christian Fellowship, where Sorensen is a church elder. He was inspired by the book, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” by Michael Baigent, the same novel that is said to have inspired Dan Brown’s now-famous “The Da Vinci Code.” Sorensen read the book while on a skiing getaway with his family.
“This is the book that popularized the notion that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and she had kids by him. After Jesus died and the resurrection took place, Mary left Israel by boat and sails all the way to Marseille in France,” Sorensen explained.
There are some who believe that Mary Magdalene had a daughter, supposedly named Sarah, who carried on Jesus’ bloodline. One version of events also claims that Sarah married into the Merovingian dynasty, totalitarian kings of Europe. The Merovingians, however, were known for their cult-like ways, promoting divination and ruling by fear.
That is where Sorensen has a problem.
“They don’t sound very much like Jesus’ kids,” he said.
That observation prompted Sorensen to start writing. In the first “Unholy Grail” book, he recounts a Biblical story of Mary Magdalene anointing Jesus with perfume (Matthew 26:2-13). In the Bible, Judas objects, seemingly for the waste of the expensive perfume. But what if there was another reason?
“Maybe there was something more to this than his concern about the money. Maybe the real reason was not simply the money; maybe the reason was he wanted Mary Magdalene,” he said.
In “Unholy Grail,” Judas Iscariot becomes frustrated when he realizes that his affiliation with Jesus Christ will get him nowhere financially. At the same time, he falls in lust with Mary Magdalene and is jealous of her close relationship with Jesus. After selling Jesus out for money, he tries to convince Mary Magdalene to elope with him. When she rejects him, he rapes her and she becomes pregnant with his child.
“This is essentially a satanic analogue to what happens to Mary, mother of Jesus,” Sorensen said.
The second book follows Mary Magdalene’s bloodline to present day.
“In the second book, their heir becomes the head of the EU [European Union] and the anti-Christ,” he said.
While the story is fiction, many of the scenes are inspired by Biblical accounts and the setting is carefully plotted. Sorensen traveled to France on a research trip for the book, visiting the areas that Magdalene was said to have evangelized, including the Saint Maximum’s basilica. Thanks in part to the experience, Sorensen is considering going back to school for a PhD in Biblical studies when he retires.
It took him 10 years to complete his research and write the books, stealing time at his computer at night over the years.
“Whenever you’re writing a story, you want it to be as authentic as possible,” he said. “It’s always best if you’ve actually been there – you’ve actually seen it. That’s incumbent on any historical writer to get the details right.”
Sorensen is pleased with the final project, and said it was “very cool” to be able to hold a copy of his work. His focus now is on marketing the series, which is now available online for Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also available for sale through his website, UnholyGrail.net, which includes a blog with additional research and information related to the books.
Soon, Sorensen will be ready to tackle his next literary project. He would like to pursue more historical fiction works, but is interested in other genres as well, and it seems “Unholy Grail” has whet his appetite as an author.
“I enjoy writing,” he said. “I enjoy the process of researching and making sure your book smells real.”
For more information, visit www.unholygrail.net or www.richardsorensen.com.