The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Living -

Bri­tons will spend £440 mil­lion on choco­late at Easter – 10 per cent of to­tal an­nual sales. An av­er­age of 80 mil­lion Easter eggs will be sold at a to­tal value of £520 mil­lion.

A re­cent YouGov poll re­vealed that a third of Bri­tons do not know that Je­sus was born in Beth­le­hem, nor that he was Jewish, al­though 85 per cent do know that Easter cel­e­brates the Res­ur­rec­tion.

Other pop­u­lar the­o­ries ex­plain­ing the empty tomb: Je­sus’s body is stolen by griev­ing Chris­tians; Mary Mag­da­lene and dis­ci­ples re­turn to the wrong tomb; Je­sus, in ca­hoots with Joseph of Ari­mathea, fakes his death us­ing a spe­cial drug; Je­sus only “passes out” on the cross and wakes up later; and – a favourite ar­gu­ment of Colonel Gadaffi’s – Je­sus swaps iden­ti­ties with Ju­das Is­car­iot at the last mo­ment.

Us­ing the meth­ods of Michael Dros­nin’s 1997 best­seller The Bi­ble Code, Moby Dick has been a bet­ter pre­dic­tor of as­sas­si­na­tion and dis­as­ter than the Bi­ble. One ex­tract en­codes the se­quence “Diana”’, “Dodi” “Henri Paul” and “jaws of death”.

Faith helps you live longer. A 1995 US study of death rates in the six months af­ter by­pass surgery showed a 12 per cent chance of death for non-church­go­ers, five per cent for reg­u­lar at­ten­dees and nought per cent for the “deeply re­li­gious”.

The favoured Nor­we­gian fes­tive pas­time is read­ing crime nov­els. Paaskekrim or “Easter crime”, is in­spired by the vi­o­lence of Je­sus’s death.

The Da Vinci Code (Au­drey Ta­tou, right, starred along­side Tom Hanks in last year’s film) might not be hokum. The Je­sus Fam­ily Tomb, a new film and book, uses DNA and sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis to pro­duce a 600-1 prob­a­bil­ity that the re­mains found in a Jerusalem tomb in 1980 are those of Je­sus, Mary Mag­da­lene and their son Jude.

Next week: dic­tio­nar­ies

The Com­plete First Se­ries of QI is now avail­able on DVD at

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