Beneath the surface of our world, mythological creatures and their artifacts still exist—corrupt people pay fortunes for a sliver of dragon bone, a basilisk's scale, or an angel's wing. Angela Gough is an American criminology student in London whose fiancé Vince disappears, and her investigation leads her into a black market specializing in arcane relics. She meets Mary Rock, a criminal of mythic status who also wants to find Vince... to kill him. Angela and a growing team of adventurers must stop this horrific trade, yet they face a growing menace as the hunted creatures begin to fight back.
Buddhism is popularly seen as a religion stressing the truth of impermanence. How, then, to account for the long-standing veneration, in Asian Buddhist communities, of bone fragments, hair, teeth and other bodily bits said to come from the historic Buddha? Early European and American scholars of religion, influenced by a characteristic Protestant bias against relic worship, declared such practices to be superstitious and fraudulent, and far from the true essence of Buddhism. John Strong`s Book, by contrast, argues that relic veneration has played a serious and integral role in Buddhist traditions in south and Southeast Asia and that it is in no way foreign to Buddhism. The book is structured around the life story of the Buddha, starting with traditions about relics of previous buddhas and relics from the past lives of the Buddha Sakyamuni. It then considers the death of the Buddha, the collection of his bodily relics after his cremation, and stories of their spread to different parts of Asia. The Book ends with a consideration of the legend of the future parinirvana (extinction) of the relics prior to the advent of the next Buddha, Maitreya. Throughout, the author does not hesitate to explore the many versions of these legends and to relate them to their ritual, doctrinal, artistic, and social contexts. In 1561, an interesting ceremony ing a military operation in Sri Lanka, Portuguese troops had captured what local idolaters (i.e., Buddhists) claimed was the tooth of the Buddha, and had delivered it as a prize to their viceroy, Don Constantino da Braganca. The viceroy had hoped to hold it for ransom, but now the archbishop of Goa, Don Gaspar, was insisting that it be destroyed. On a porch overlooking the river, in the presence of a great crowd of Christians and pagans, he called for the tooth and placed it in a mortar, and with his own hand reduced it to powder, and cast the pieces into a brazier which stood ready for the purpose; after which the ashes and the charcoal together were cast into the river, in sight of all those who were crowding the verandahs and windows which looked upon the water (Tennent 1859, 2:215. See also chapter 7 in this book). As benighted as such an action may seem to us today, it can at least be said that the Portuguese archbishop appreciated the nature of relics. Conscious of the power of holy objects from his own tradition, he felt that the tooth had to be utterly and permanently eradicated. In his mind, this was not just a piece of bone that he was destroying but a relic of the devil (reliquia do demonio) something alive that had to be killed (Tennent 1859, 2:214; text in De Couto 1783, 17:429) Rather different were the attitudes of some of Don Gaspar`s Protestant contemporaries in Europe. John Calvin, to my knowledge, never said anything about Buddhist relics, but in 1543 he wrote a whole treatise on Roman Catholic ones (Calvin 1970). And although he too, given the chance, would probably have crushed the Buddha`s tooth to bits, he would have done so for different reasons. For him, relics embodied no sacred or even demonic presence, and it was wrong and exploitative to pretend that they did. Relics were nothing but material things, as he pointed out when he got rid of what had been two of Geneva`s prized relics-the arm of Saint Anthony and the brain of Saint peter; the one, he proclaimed, was but the bone of a stag, and the other a piece of pumice (Calvin 1970:53) Contents List of Tables, Preface, Note and Abbreviations, Introduction: Relics of the Buddha, Relics and the Biographical process, Types of Buddha Relics, Bones and Books, Bones and Beads, Relics, Bones, and Burial Practices in India and Beyond, Bones and Bodies, Relics and images, Limitations of this study, outline, 1. Relics of previous buddhas, 2. Relics of the Bodhisattva, 3. Relics of the Still-Living Buddha: Hairs and Rootprints, 4. The Parinirvana of the Buddha, 5. Asoka and the Buddha Relics, 6. Predestined Relics: The extension of the Buddha's life story in some sri lankan traditions, 7. Further Extensions of the Buddha's Life Story: Some Tooth Relic Traditions, 8. Relics and Eschatology, Conclusions, Bibliography, index.
Author: Sidney Kirkpatrick
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2011-05-26
From Paris to Stalingrad, the Nazis systematically plundered all manner of art and antiquities. But the first and most valuable treasure they looted were the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. This is the true-life Indiana Jones story of a college professor turned Army sleuth who foils a Nazi plot to preserve these cherished symbols of Hitler's Thousand Year Reich. Author Sidney Kirkpatrick draws on recently discovered and previously unpublished documents, including interrogation and intelligence reports, diaries and correspondence, as well as on interviews with all remaining living participants involved with the case, to re-create this thrilling true-life story.
Author: Joe Nickell
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Release Date: 2007-03-16
Religious relics, defined as "either portions of or objects connected with the body of a saint or other holy person," are among the most revered items in the world. Christian relics such as the Holy Grail, the True Cross, and the Lance of Longinus are also the source of limitless controversy. Such items have incited people to bloodshed and, some say, have been a source of miracles. Relics inspire fear and hope among the faithful and yet are a perennial target for skeptics, both secular and Christian. To research the authenticity of numerous Christian relics, Joe Nickell takes a scientific approach to a field of study all too often tainted by premature conclusions. In this volume, Nickell investigates such renowned relics as the Shroud of Turin, the multiple heads of John the Baptist, and the supposedly incorruptible corpses of saints, first examining the available evidence and documented history of each item. From accounts of true believers to the testimony of the relics' alleged fabricators, Nickell then presents all sides of each story, allowing the evidence to speak for itself. For each relic, Nickell evaluates both the corroborating and contradictory bodies of evidence and explores whether the relic and attributed miracles can be reconstructed. In addition to his own experiments, Nickell presents findings from the world's top scientists and historians regarding these controversial objects of reverence and ire, explaining the circumstances under which each case was examined. Radiocarbon dating and tests to determine the validity of substances such as blood or patina indicate a variety of possible origins. Nickell even reveals some of the techniques used to create archaeological forgeries and explains how investigators have exposed them. Each relic is a mystery to be solved; guided by the maxim, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof," Nickell seeks only the truth.
Author: Patrick J. Geary
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2011-06-27
To obtain sacred relics, medieval monks plundered tombs, avaricious merchants raided churches, and relic-mongers scoured the Roman catacombs. In a revised edition of Furta Sacra, Patrick Geary considers the social and cultural context for these acts, asking how the relics were perceived and why the thefts met with the approval of medieval Christians.
Author: Douglas J. Preston
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: 1996-08
The book that started the New York Times bestselling collaboration of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human... But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who-or what-is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop the massacre? Special lower priced edition available for a limited time.
Author: Richard Allen Landes
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 1995
This unusual biographical work traces the life and career of Ademar of Chabannes, a monk, historian, liturgist, and hagiographer who lived at the turn of the first Christian millennium. Thanks to the unique collection of over one thousand folios of autograph manuscript that Ademar left behind, Richard Landes has been able to reconstruct in great detail the development of Ademar's career and the events of his day, and to suggest several major revisions in the general picture held by current medieval historiography. Above all, the author's research confirms and elaborates the realization (first articulated over sixty years ago by the historian Louis Saltet) that in 1029 Ademar suffered a humiliating defeat at the height of his career and spent his final five years feverishly producing a dossier of forgeries and fictions about his own contemporaries that has few parallels in the annals on medieval forgery. Not only did that dossier of forgeries succeed in misleading historians from the twelfth century right up to the twentieth, but few historians have been willing to explore the implications of so striking a revision in Ademar's biography. Richard Landes is the first to systematically examine the evidence and the implications for our understanding of the period, and he offers an explanation of how these remarkable developments might have occurred.
Author: Christopher Buckley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-12-08
From New York Times bestselling author Christopher Buckley, “one of the funniest writers in the English language” (Tom Wolfe), a compelling and hilarious adventure featuring a sixteenth-century relic hunter and his best friend, Albrecht Dürer, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin. The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. His two most important patrons are Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. While Frederick is drawn to the recent writing of Martin Luther, Albrecht pursues the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences. When Albrecht’s ambitions increase his demands for grander and more marketable relics, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. Unfortunately Dürer’s reckless pride exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, so Albrecht puts Dismas and Dürer in the custody of four loutish mercenaries and sends them all to steal Christ’s burial cloth (the Shroud of Chambéry), Europe’s most celebrated relic. On their journey to Savoy where the Shroud will be displayed, they battle a lustful count and are joined by a beautiful female apothecary. It is only when they reach their destination that they realize they are not alone in their intentions to acquire a relic of dubious legitimacy. Filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics and science; Vatican intrigue; and Buckley’s signature wit, The Relic Master is a delightfully rich and intelligent comic adventure.