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TANATA is devoted to discussing the paradoxes and the mysteries of life, among which is the paradox of the coexistence of good and evil. “God is love,” John tells us. Evil exists, we would suggest, not because God is detached or unconcerned, but because free will exists which is required for true, unforced love to exist. Still, it is painfully hard to reconcile this paradox. We believe that all evil one day will be judged and destroyed, until then we must pray.

DANIEL 7:13-14

13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

REVELATION 1:7

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

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Thursday
Sep172009

Did Dan Brown Hide "The Moor"?

In the apparent zeal to link Jesus with a woman presumed to be Mary Magdalene in The Last Supper, the author of The Da Vinci Code failed miserably to introduce his readers to a real-life mystery about the much overlooked man who commisioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint The Last Supper — a man whose nickname given him at birth was “THE MOOR.” Why was the patron of The Last Supper called the Moor? Why was nothing whatsoever mentioned about the Moor in the novel or film? Was the emphasis on Mary Magdalene in The Last Supper a diversion to keep us from knowing more about the Moor, the Milanese duke who may have had a very special request of his court painter Leonardo before he set out to work on this “masterpiece”?

First, a definition of the word “Moor.”

Moor comes from the Greek word mauros (Greek orthography μαύρος, plural μαύροι), meaning “black” or “very dark”, which in Latin became mauro (plural mauri). In the Romance languages (such as Spanish, French, and Italian) of Medieval Europe, the root appeared with such forms as moro, moir, and mor. Derivatives of the root are found in today’s versions of the languages. Through nominalization, the root has always referred to various things conveniently identified by their dark color, for example, blackberries, black olives, very dark grapes, dark-haired people, or dark-skinned people; but the senses referring to dark-skinned people today generally hover close to (or, more often, clearly cross over) the line of offensiveness. Moreno from the Latin root can mean “tanned” in Spain and “black person” in Cuba. Morapio is a slang name for “wine”, specially that has not been “baptized” with water, i.e., pure unadulterated wine. Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. … // Definition A nominalization is a word that has been changed from a verb or an adjective into a noun. … Moreno is Spanish and Portuguese for a tanned or dark or brown-skinned person. …

The Moors, during the Middle Ages and as late as the 17th century, were described as being black, dark-skinned, or swarthy in complexion. Modern texts, such as Webster’s New World Dictionary, groups all Moors together under the terms Arab and Berber, which has caused individuals to omit the association with Africans that are racially considered “black”. Considering that Berbers were a mixture of various shades of diverse nomadic groups comprising East Africans, North Africans, West Africans, and Sub-Saharan Africans, the claims of racial heritage being of one specific group are at best dubious. Today, it is the lighter inhabitants of Morocco and Mauretania who are called Moors.

In Spanish usage, moro (“Moor”) came to have an even broader usage, to mean “Muslims” in general (just as rumi, “from the Eastern Roman Empire”, came to mean “Christian” or “European” in many Arabic dialects); thus the moros of Mindanao in the Philippines, and the moriscos of Granada. Moro is also used to describe all things dark, as in “Moor”, “moreno”, etc.; and it has led to many European surnames such as Moore, Mauro, De Mauro, and so on. The Milanese Duke Ludovico Il Moro was so-called because of his dark complexion. (Wikipedia’s portrait of Ludovico Il Moro shows him to be … white.)

So, who was the patron of The Last Supper? The man just mentioned … Ludovico Il Moro Sforza, so named because of his dark complexion. According to Michael White, a biographer of Leonardo, the inventor, scientist and artist once said of Ludovico, Leonardo’s boss of 18 years, that “his justice was as black as himself.”

Three guesses as to why the patron of The Last Supper has seemingly been obscured in a novel and film about an apparent non-code involving Jesus and the Beloved Disciple, a man presumably named John, who happens to be missing among the twelve disciples. Mary Magdalene was not and is not the Beloved Disciple, as she appears with Peter and “the other disciple, the one Jesus loved” at the empty tomb of Jesus at John 20:2.

Give up? Here’s another question:

Is the niece of Ludovico Il Moro Sforza, Caterina Sforza, the Mona Lisa? Why does the Mona Lisa have embroidered on the collar of her dress the Sforza family crest … if there is no connection?

You blew it, Dan. Or was obscuring the Moor and his request of Leonardo always a part of the sham? We’ll know the truth one day behind The Moor’s Code, if there is one, when Jesus physically returns.