Robert de Boron (early 13th century) seems to have been the person responsible for merging the Arthurian Quest for the Holy Grail with Christian themes to produce the story we have today. in two works, Joseph d'Arimathe and Merlin, he developed the story that Joseph of Arimathea used the cup from the Last Supper to catch the last drops of blood from Jesus's body. This cup became the Holy Grail, which Joseph's family brought to the vaus d'Avaron, the valleys of Avaron in the west, which later poets changed to Avalon and identified with Glastonbury, where they guarded it until the time of King Arthur and the coming of Perceval.
There is currently an active market in Europe and America for taking the medieval myths further. In Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982), Hugh Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln developed their theory that the Holy Grail was not the cup used at the Last Supper, but the Holy Bloodline of a family descended from Jesus himself. Dan Brown has developed the same idea in fictional form in The DaVinci Code (2003). These writers speculate that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus, and that the two of them had a son.
In some medieval stories Mary Magdalene was identified with Mary of Bethany, and in others she was said to have accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to Marseilles after Jesus’ crucifixion. In Baigent’s extension of the medieval story, Mary Magdalene brought her son to Marseilles as well. Supposedly, that son became the ancestor of certain European royal families, notably the Merovingians, who were the earliest royal family of the Franks, forerunners of the French. In support of this theory, Baigent et al. offer an alternative etymology for San Graal (the Holy Grail); they call it the Sang Real (the Blood Royal). They also ornament their theory with many authentic medieval legends. For example, Godfroi de Bouillon, the 11th century Crusader ruler of Jerusalem, was said by his contemporaries to have been the son or grandson of Lohengrin, even though he lived some 600 years later, even assuming that there was an historical Lohengrin.
Nevertheless, the meat of Holy Blood, Holy Grail rests on the forged Lobineau genealogies, and the monomania of Pierre Plantard, a Frenchman who in the early 1960s sought to prove that he is a descendant of the Merovingians though Dagobert II, an obscure 7th century dynast who is not known to have left descendants. Moreover, there is no evidence of a secret Priory of Sion that has worked through the centuries to promote the rule of these soi disant descendants of Jesus, nor is there evidence that the Roman Catholic church has sought though the centuries to exterminate them.
Despite the dubious material used by Baigent et al., the royal families of modern Europe, and a great many noble families, are in fact descended from the Merovingians, as are many ordinary people in northern and western Europe and the Americas.
- Pierre de Vaux de Cerny, Historia Albigensis (probably 1212 to 1218). Claims that the Cathars believed Mary Magdalene was the concubine of Jesus. "Further, in their secret meetings they said that the Christ who was born in the earthly and visible Bethlehem and crucified at Jerusalem was 'evil', and that Mary Magdalene was his concubine – and that she was the woman taken in adultery who is referred to in the Scriptures".
- Louis Martin, Les Evangiles sans Dieu (1886). Argues that Jesus was an atheist. He married Mary Magdalene. They traveled to southern France, where they had a son.
- Donovan Joyce, The Jesus Scroll (1973). Argues that Jesus survived the crucifixion, married Mary Magdalene, had a child with her, and was killed at the Siege of Masada (73/74 CE). Joyce claimed to have seen a scroll stolen from the Masada excavations in 1964. He claimed the scroll was autobiographical, written by Yeshua ben Ya’akob ben Gennesareth (Jesus), who called himself "the last of the rightful kings of Israel".
- Andreas Faber-Kaiser, Jesus died in Kashmir: Jesus, Moses and the ten lost tribes of Israel (1977). Argues that Jesus traveled to Kashmir, married a Kashmiri woman, and had children with her. A Kashmiri man, Basharat Saleem claimed to be a descendant of Jesus.
- Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982). Argues that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. She is the Holy Grail. They are the ancestors of the Merovingian dynasty.
- Margaret Starbird, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail (1993). Argues that Jesus married Mary Magadalene. She was the Holy Grail. St. Sarah of Egypt was their daughter.
- Barbara Thiering, Jesus the Man: New Interpretations from the Dead Sea Scrolls (1992). Argues that Jesus was an Essene priest, and a great grandson of Hillel the Great. He married Mary Magdalene, and later divorced. Jesus died sometime after 64 CE.
- Laurence Gardner, Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed (1996). Argues that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and had children. Their descendants include King Arthur and the Stuart dynasty. In later books, Gardner developed his theories that Adam and Eve, who were primate-alien hybrids created by ancient astronauts called the Anunnaki, and that Michel Lafosse is the legitimate Jacobite claimant to the Scottish throne.
- Marylin Hopkins, Graham Simmans and Tim Wallace-Murphy, Rex Deus: The True Mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau and the Dynasty of Jesus (2000). Argues that the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are part of shadow dynasty descended from twenty-four high priests of the Temple in Jerusalem known as "Rex Deus" (Kings of God).
- Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code (2003). A novel that turns on discovering the modern descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
- Simcha Jacobovici and Charles R. Pellegrino, The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History (2007). Argues that the Talpiot tomb is the tomb of Jesus (Yeshua bar Yosef) and his family.
- Sylvia Browne, The Two Marys: The Hidden History of the Mother and Wife of Jesus (2007). Uses psychic evidence to argue that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and produced a family.
- Bruce Burgess, Bloodline (2008 film). Expands on the claim that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and had a family. Burgess claimed that discoveries made in the vicinity of Rennes-le-Château since 1999 include a mummified corpse, which he argued is the body of Mary Magdalene. The information was later exposed as a hoax.
- Rob Howells, Inside the Priory of Sion: Revelations from the World's Most Secret Society - Guardians of the Bloodline of Jesus (2011). Tie-in to the 2008 film Bloodline.
- "Holy Grail" at Swanstrom.org. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013. <http://www.swanstrom.org/holy-grail.html>
- "Jesus bloodline" at en.wikipedia.org. Accessed Feb. 19, 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_bloodline>
- "The Jesus Family Tomb" at en.wikipedia.org. Accessed Feb. 19, 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jesus_Family_Tomb>
- Holy Grail National Geographic