What Exactly Is the Holy Grail, and Why Has Its Meaning Eluded Us for Centuries?

Epoch Times: Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence. The sheer multiplicity of what any search engine throws up demonstrates that there is no clear consensus as to what the Grail is or was. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people out there claiming to know its history, true meaning, and even where to find it.


“Sir Galahad, the Quest for the Holy Grail,” 1870, by Arthur Hughes. (Public Domain)

Modern authors, perhaps most (in)famously Dan Brown, offer new interpretations and, even when these are clearly and explicitly rooted in little more than imaginative fiction, they get picked up and bandied about as if a new scientific and irrefutable truth has been discovered. The Grail, though, will perhaps always eschew definition. But why?

The first known mention of a Grail (“un graal”) is made in a narrative spun by a 12th-century writer of French romance, Chrétien de Troyes, who might reasonably be referred to as the Dan Brown of his day—though some scholars would argue that the quality of Chrétien’s writing far exceeds anything Brown has so far produced.

Chrétien’s Grail is mystical indeed: It is a dish, big and wide enough to take a salmon, that seems capable of delivering food and sustenance. To obtain the Grail requires asking a particular question at the Grail Castle. Unfortunately, the exact question (“Whom does the Grail serve?”) is only revealed after the Grail quester, the hapless Perceval, has missed the opportunity to ask it. It seems he is not quite ready, not quite mature enough, for the Grail. read more

18 Comments on What Exactly Is the Holy Grail, and Why Has Its Meaning Eluded Us for Centuries?

  1. Excalibur, VERY intense, version of the awesome Malory allegory.

    Le’ Morte D’Arthur.





    The term holy grail means another thing…as in THE HOLY GRAIL of finding anything YOU, as a collector…searcher in life, or other have found.

    We all have one… or several.

    @MJA – thanks for posting. Great image to put up. Best time for art in the pre-Modern Age.

  2. “what? That’s no monster! It’s just a rabbit, you manky Scots git!”

    “Ach Mon! It’ll do ye a treat!”

    “Run away! Run away!”

    I do so love the classics

  3. …Robin: “perhaps we can confuse it by running away some more”.

    Arthur: “shut up. Go and change your armor”.

    “Brave Sir Robin ran away
    Bravely ran away away
    (I didn’t!)
    When danger reared its ugly head
    He bravely turned his tail and fled
    Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
    (I didn’t!)
    And gallantly he chickened out

    Bravely taking to his feet
    (I never did!)
    He beat a very brave retreat
    (All lies!)
    Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!
    (I never!)”

  4. We have had two Arks, one was a boat, the other was the 10 Commandments. Both have been lost,and forgotten by most.

  5. Some have suggested it wasn’t “San Greal” but “Sang Real”, or Holy Blood, and was the direct male-line descendent of Jesus, protected by the Knights Templar, but this is wrong. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the Bridegroom not of a physical woman who could bear Him a son, but the Bridegroom of The Church, meaning all Christians who accept Jesus as Lord and as Savior.

  6. Charlie WalksonWater
    MAY 23, 2019 AT 12:27 AM
    “where is the holy hand grenade?”


  7. Galahad: “Please let me have just a little bit of peril?”

    Lancelot: “No, too perilous.”

    Galahad: “Bet you’re gay.”

    Lancelot (indignantly): “Am not!”

  8. Uh-oh. Mary Jane Anklestraps is going to email me, chastening me for derailing an otherwise fine thread.

    I did not choose…. wisely.

    MJA, I wish you & your family a happy & pleasant Memorial Day holiday weekend, filled with BBQs, laughter, love and remembrance as our nation thanks our fallen heroes, veterans and current serving military

    May God bless you and your family.

  9. Let us ride to Camelot !
    Oh, on second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. It’s a silly place.

  10. Mansfield Lovell
    MAY 23, 2019 AT 8:10 AM
    “Uh-oh. Mary Jane Anklestraps is going to email me, chastening me for derailing an otherwise fine thread.

    I did not choose…. wisely.”

    …at least you didn’t make it about abortion.



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