Primary Sources: Le Morte D’Arthur, Book XIII Chapters 6 and 7
Arthur calls all the Knights of the Round Table together and has them take a knee.
“All right fellows, it’s finally happening. The Quest for the Holy Grail. Y’all are all going to head out in different directions, seeking the Grail, and frankly it’s a safe bet that we aren’t all ever going to be together in the same place ever again. All the jousting, all the tournaments, it’s all be leading up to this. This is the big one. So before you go, I want to have one last joust, out in the meadow. Then it’s off on the strange adventure to end all strange adventures! Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose!”
The knights cheer, and then they have a final joust all together. It’s a heartwarming moment. Galahad gets to participate, because Arthur really wants to see what this so-called “best knight” has going for him. Gawaine has to explain to Galahad how jousting works; at first Launcelot’s son and the purest bestest hottest knightliest knight ever does not know that he needs a lance to joust with. And he refuses to pick up a shield, on the grounds that it’s silly.
But eventually Gawaine gets Galahad more or less situated, and then Guenever up in the stands waves for the tournament to start, and boom, you’ve got your final single-elimination tournament of all the Knights of the Round Table. For once Malory isn’t interested in giving us multiple chapters of blow-by-blow; he’s all into explaining how great Galahad is. Gahalad break[s] spears marvellously, that all men had wonder of him. Before too long he’s surmounted all other knights, including all the Knights of the Round Table save twain, that was Sir Launcelot and Sir Percivale.
Guenever decides at this point that she wants to see what Galahad looks like. Merlin led him in fully armored, helmet included, so Guenever hasn’t seen his face yet, except of course in a continuity error Galahad took his armor off afterwards before Guenever met him last chapter. She nudges Arthur and tells him, and then Arthur shouts down for Galahad to unlace his helm so Guenever can see him.
When Galahad complies, Guenever whistles. “Soothly I dare well say that Sir Launcelot begat him, for never two men resembled more in likeness, therefore it nis no marvel though he be of great prowess. He really takes after his father in the looks department, wowsa.”
“Wowsa?” Arthur wasn’t listening, but one of Guenever’s ladies-in-waiting takes a mild affront. “Do you really think it’s fair for this Johnny-come-lately to skip into Camelot and claim the title of ‘best knight’ away from our beloved Man from Benwick?”
“Well, yeah,” says Guenever. “Launcelot, as I’m sure you know, is Jesus Christ’s great-great-great-great-great-grandson, which means his son Galahad is Jesus’s great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson. So, there you are.”
“Hold up,” I say to Malory. “It says here Galahad is of all parties come of the best knights of the world and of the highest lineage; for Sir Launcelot is come but of the eighth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ, therefore Sir Galahad is of the ninth degree from our Lord Jesu Christ, therefore I dare say they be the greatest gentlemen of the world. That is what it says here. Are you saying that Jesus had descendants, in contradiction to the usual doctrine that asserts he never married or had kids?”
“Yeah, sure,” says Malory. “Holy blood, holy Grail, right?”
I boggle. “And Launcelot is at the bottom of that family tree?”
“Well, not just Launcelot. Galahad, obviously, and Launcelot’s various relations Bors, Lionel, Lamorak, Ban, Ector de Maris…” Malory ticks them off on his fingers.
“Are we going to address this claim anywhere else in the book?”
That’s an intriguing break from the theology there.
Jesus explicitly has brothers mentioned in the Bible; some commentators claimed they were either step-brothers or half-brothers (sons of Joseph from a previous marriage or Mary’s later children) but Jesus having sons in Mallory’s time is a new one on me.
Heck, even Kevin Smith in Dogma made Jesus a distant uncle.
I really don’t see how to interpret Malory’s words differently. Launcelot is eight generations out, his son is nine generations out; he’s explicitly talking about a father-son line of descent.
In Dogma she was called “the last scion,” which I took to indicate that in early drafts of the script she was directly descended from Jesus, but during production someone decided that declaring He had children was a bridge too far.
Sort of like how Paramount said TNG could go ahead and produce “the Outcast,” but that they had to cast female actors as the genderless aliens. The one Riker falls in love with was originally intended to played by a male actor, but the studio didn’t want to deal with letter bombs.
The Free Dictionary defines scion as “descendant or heir” so I’d figure that could cover heir of an uncle.
My problem with Dogma was that the claimed Jesus’ brothers were cut out of the Bible, when they’re explicitly in there. But, of course, the term “brother” can be ambiguous, and I’m not sure what the original Greek said.