The never-ending search (BBC)
By Brendan O'Neill
Fascination with the Holy Grail has lasted for centuries, and now the Bletchley Park code-breakers have joined the hunt. But what is it that's made the grail the definition of something humans are always searching for but never actually finding?
Could an obscure inscription on a 250-year-old monument in a Staffordshire garden point the way to the Holy Grail - the jewelled chalice reportedly used by Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper?
Short answer: no. Nevertheless:
That is one theory entertained by Richard Kemp, the general manager of Lord Lichfield's Shugborough estate in Staffs.
Kemp has called in world-renowned code-breakers to try to decipher a cryptic message carved into the Shepherd's Monument on the Lichfield estate.
The monument, built around 1748, features an image of one of Nicholas Poussin's paintings, and beneath it the letters "D.O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.M."
It has long been rumoured that these letters - which have baffled some of the greatest minds over the past 250 years, including Charles Darwin's and Josiah Wedgwood's - provide clues to the whereabouts of Christ's elusive cup.
The story is kind of fun, and the article brings in the risible but bestselling Da Vinci Code as well. You can find a clearer picture of the inscription here (The Age, subscription-only I'm afraid).
I agree with Richard Holloway in the BBC article:
"It's all good fun but absolute nonsense", says Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh. "The quest for the Holy Grail belongs with the quest for the ark Noah left on Mount Ararat or the fabled Ark of the Covenant Indiana Jones is always chasing. There ain't any objective truth in any of it - but of course it's a dream for publishers, who know the world is full of gullible people looking for miracles and they keep on promising that this time the miracle's going to come true.
"Only it isn't - but the money keeps rolling in."
Okay, so its a slow news day.