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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Da Vinci Code Sequel Causes Uproar

A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]
Dan Brown's much-anticipated follow-up to The Da Vinci Code will again feature Harvard professor Robert Langdon, this time trying to prove that 19th-century El Paso resident Jesus Delgado has descendants now living. This contradicts a Delgado family history published in 1956, which states that Jesus "died without issue."

Maria Delgado Montes, whose late father compiled the genealogy, is outraged that Brown would cast doubt on the book's veracity.

"If you'll pardon the expression, this is the 'Bible' of Delgado genealogy," she says, holding up a well-worn copy. "Everybody thinks so ... except that godless heathen at The American Genealogist who said it needed more footnotes. What gives Dan Brown the right to attack my father's book—especially the story of Jesus?"

Her outrage is shared throughout the El Paso area, where Jesus is something of a legend, remembered for his remarkable compassion. On one occasion, Jesus was climbing Mount Cristo Rey outside the city when he came upon a European immigrant giving birth. People still talk about his delivering the German on the Mount.

Brown alleges in his forthcoming book that Jesus secretly married a woman of doubtful reputation and produced a son whose descendants have controlled El Paso politics for generations. Shortly before his son's birth, Jesus was arrested for washing the feet of Jewish strangers against their will. He was executed soon after by a Texas governor eager to prove that he was tough on crime.

"He couldn't have married her," insists Maria—a great-great-grandniece of Jesus. "And if he did, it was only to redeem her reputation. And if he fathered a son, it was only to prove that she was worthy of carrying his child. Is there anything nobler?"

Despite this hypothesizing, Maria is confident that her father will be vindicated in the end.

"His research has been proven correct every time it's been challenged," she says. "Some say he was infallible, but that's going too far. After all, he did leave off a comma on page 327."

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