Archive for April, 2006
The DaVinci Code is for you if you like a good murder mystery full of conspiracy theories and intrigue. It comes replete with hidden treasures, secret societies, and covert love. If you are spiritually inclined the fact all of this has Scripture as its backdrop may appeal.
The book having been on the best seller list for some time is now to be released as a movie. To help persons understand its basis this is part one of two parts on the subject.
If you like fiction “The DaVinci Code” is a thriller you will enjoy. If you are expecting history forget it.
If you are offended by distorted truth, misrepresentation, a refutation of history, and a mockery of Biblical fact don’t go to the movie or read the book.
The thesis of the book is fatally flawed. In summary it proves itself to be a compilation of lies. Basic to this is the deity of Christ.
Another source of the author’s materials from Gnostic sources. The Gnostics were heretics who infiltrated Christianity around 150 AD. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, wrote of them around 180 AD: “…everyone of them generates something new, day by day, according to his ability; for no one is deemed ‘perfect’ who does not develop some mighty fiction.”
Dan Brown, author of the book on which the movie is based draws heavily form Gnostic writings. Nevertheless, he says of his work, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” NOT!
In reality numerous falsehoods have a superstructure of twenty primary groups of lies. Consider the basis of a few.
#1. Constantine had the New Testament revised to represent Jesus as being “godlike.”
Long before Constantine became Emperor of Rome (306 AD) Christians readily acknowledged Christ as divine. Brown alleges a vote taken at the Council of Nicea (325 AD) was the first declaration that Jesus was divine.
In New Testament texts written nearly 275 years earlier His divinity was asserted. He was said to be our “Great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13), “the eternal blessed God” (Romans 9:5), and that in Him dwelt “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). He was described as “God manifest in flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). Ministers were exhorted to “shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). When did God shed blood? In the person of Christ on the cross. He is spoken of as “Christ, who is the image of God” (II Cor. 4:4).
Numerous secular records predating the Council of Nicea attest to the belief in Christ’s deity. An example is the writing of Ignatius around 100 A.D. in which he makes reference to “Christ the God.” Justin Martyr referred to Him as “God” in 150 A.D., Clement of Alexandria wrote of Him as being the “most manifest Deity” in 200 A.D., and Irenaeus called Him “Lord and God” in 185 A.D.
#2. By a “relatively close vote” at the Council of Nicea Jesus was declared to be God.
Out of an assembly of over 300 attending the Council only two refused to sign a statement representing Jesus as “true God from true God.” The purpose was not to propose a new concept but to support the long held belief in Christ’s deity in opposition to a then current teaching by a North African elder, Arius, who sought to humanize Christ as a created being.
#3. Jesus was “a mortal prophet, a great and powerful man, but a man nevertheless.”
In the era of the New Testament the challenge was not to establish a belief in Christ’s deity but His humanity. A sect known as Gnostics taught God could not become human. I John 4:1-6 was penned in opposition to this fallacy.
#4. Jesus married Mary Magdalene.
In “The DaVinci Code” Mary Magdalene is said to have become the bride of Christ and His choice to head His movement. Peter and other male followers of Christ were envious and brought pressure to bear on her. She escaped and moved to France where she gave birth to the Child of Jesus. Through the bloodline of this child the Merovingians were allegedly started. Historically the Merovingians sprang not from Mary but King Merovech who ruled from 447 to 557 A.D.
Mary and her followers reputedly founded Paris. Historically Paris was founded by Gauls of the Parissi tribe as a fishing village on the Ile de la Cite in the Seine River. It was originally called Lutetia.
“The DaVinci Code” represents King Dagobert II as marrying Giselle de Razes. They are reputed to have started the Priory of Sion in the Middle Ages to protect the true documents verifying the misrepresentation of Mary supposedly advocated by the church. Brown accepts those bogus documents as true and the Bible as false.
Razes in reality was not a historical character but a mythical figure created by a French charlatan, Pierre Plantard, in 1960. In an attempt to establish his lie Plantard places false documents in libraries throughout Europe to prove the group had a distinguished past including such notables as Victor Hugo, Isaac Newton and Leonardo DaVinci. These spurious works by Plantard, verified to be forgeries, form the basis of much of Brown’s thesis. It is these and other untruths that Brown declares are true (p.1).
To bolster his claim the author included a list of notable “historians” (p, 253) who “have chronicled in exhaustive detail” the bloodline of Christ. In reality not one of those listed is a historian. There is no creditable source from the period who advocated this baseless theory. “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” is the source for this concept.
The style and content of this spurious gospel indicates it was written around 160-200 AD, long after the death of Mary even though it is ascribed to her. “The Gospel of Philip” refers to Mary as Christ’s “companion.” Brown wrote, “As any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse.” The only extant copy of “The Gospel of Philip” was written in Coptic not Aramaic.
It is believed by scholars that “The Gospel of Philip” was originally written in Greek. There is no indication there ever was an Aramaic version of the bogus book. The Greek word translated “companion” (koinonos) occurs ten times in the New Testament and in neither case does it refer to marriage or a sexual relationship.
#5. The Holy Grail is a veiled reference to Mary Magdalene.
There is no reference to the “Holy Grail” in the Bible. The term first appeared in a novel by Chrestien de Troyes written around 1100 AD, entitled “Perceval.” It was first used to speak of the cup from which Christ drank and later tradition said it held Christ’s blood.
A work by the Frenchman Pierre Plantard in the 1960s and 1970’s released documents he said traced the royal bloodline from Jesus and Mary Magdalene through the kings of France to, of all people, himself. This theory of a secret society was popularized in 1982 in a book entitle “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.” Brown draws heavily from this work and its sources. Under oath in 1993, Plantard admitted his claims were unfounded and untrue.
#6. Leonardo DaVinci was aware of the secret society and the Holy Grail, therefore, he painted Mary Magdalene in his masterpiece, “The Last Supper.”
It was a signature of DaVinci that he painted many males with feminine features as in his work “St. John the Baptist,” now in the Louvre. DaVinci’s “Last Super” was painted on the Refectory wall of a convent in Milan between 1495 and 1497. His water based tempera began to erode almost immediately.
By 1726 when the first restoration was attempted it had eroded so badly the painting was barely recognizable. What DaVinci painted originally is only approximated today. What is now seen is a restoration of other restorations. The novel and movie entitled “The DaVinci Code” are fiction studded with enough truth to be confusing. Poison even in the most refreshing beverage is still poison. Bottom line. It is fiction.
Though the book is an attempt to discredit Christianity it is in general an intrinsic assault on truth comprehensively. Current facts (the glass panes in the pyramid at the Louvre number 673 not 666 as the book states) and history (the Olympic games were held on a four year cycle to honor Zeus not an eight year cycle to honor Venus) are distorted throughout to support the feigned thesis of the book. Brown says in his book, “Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false” (p.235). The fact is it is his book that is false.
In one review “The DaVinci Code” is said to promote “the gleeful heretical notion that the entirety of Judeo-Christian culture is founded on a misogynist (woman-hating) lie. It is Brown’s work that is a cornucopia of lies, a classic canard. A cogent consideration of the facts leads to the conclusion the book is a delusive Christological counterfeit.
In the mid to late 1970’s peasants hunting for treasure in caves along the Nile found a document hidden for nearly fifteen hundred years. Contained in a crumbling limestone box was a mysterious leather bound book, a codex, “The Gospel of Judas.” Written long after the death of Judas it is reputed to have been written by Judas Iscariot, one of Christ’s apostles.
Some national secular media sources have postured it as the ultimate truth. It being the latest it is reputed to be the truth ultimately revealed about the relationship of Judas and Jesus Christ.
Its style, vocabulary, and content identifies it as a writing of a Gnostic group known as the Canites. It offers insight into this group of heretical authors who offered alternative understanding of Christianity. A lot is known about this fringe group. This group wrote to recast many characters presented negatively in the Bible. Thus, their name came from Cain, the first murderer in Scripture. They cast such Bible characters as heroes. In order to do this they had to produce alternative texts written hundreds, even thousands of years after the facts.
In considering this meretricious document written long after the facts are supposed to have happened compare it with the four New Testament gospels of which there are 5,200 older manuscripts or portions of them written in Greek, the trade language of the day.
Of them Dr. Dan Bahat, archaeologist responsible for excavating the Temple Mount, said to me they are in every sense historically accurate and were invaluable in the excavations.
The Gnostic character of the work is self-evident. It presents Jesus as using terms common in the era of the Gnostics but not the time of Christ. He is represented as speaking to Judas of “aeons” and an “eternal realm” different from Scripture. Judas is referred to as the “thirteenth spirit.” He was an agent sent from God to release Jesus from the physical body in which He was imprisoned at the time of incarnation.
The Gnostics professed to possess secret knowledge. They taught there was a significant dualism between the spiritual and material worlds. In their philosophy the entire universe, all things physical, was a material trap for the spirit world. Their constant drive was to escape the physical world and enter the spiritual realm.
Judas is portrayed as a noble friend of Jesus who sought to enable Jesus to escape the material trap of His body. Jesus is represented as saying to Judas, “But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.” Meaning, you will be responsible for my physical death. This depicts Judas as a friend of Jesus who was accommodating Him in liberating the spiritual person within by seeing to it He was killed.
This is contradictory to the New Testament teaching that Jesus came willingly to accept the cross as a sacrifice for sin. The redemptive work of Christ is contradicted by this concept. This reveals that not only did Gnostic writers seek to make heroes of Bible miscreants but to discredit the meritorious work of Christ.
Metropolitan Bishoy, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, characterizes the writings as “non-Christian babbling resulting from a group of people trying to create a false amalgam between the Greek mythology and Far East religions with Christianity…They were written by a group of people who were aliens to the main Christian stream….”
One close observer of the unfolding of this find wrote “some statements made reflect the imagination of journalists, honest mistakes, or misinformation.” The author of most of the material on the subject, Michel van Rijn, believes he was deceived on much of the material related to the document.
The (non)gospel is not new. Irenaeus (c. 135 – c. 200) wrote about such a work. He associated it with a sect known as the Cainites. Irenaeus referenced bogus mystical resources and said of Judas, “They declared that Judas the betrayer was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no other did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal, by him all things, earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produced a fictitious history of this kind, which they style as the gospel of Judas.”
This recent revelation is the latest in numerous Judas make overs based on ancient untruths. Most of these stories were written around the same time by Gnostic authors. They were a fringe element of the Christian community intent on disputing the foundations of the faith. Other Judas representation have long been dismissed as spurious.
One scenario represented Judas as having great faith in Jesus. He believed Jesus to be a reluctant Messiah. He truly believed that if Jesus were pushed He would assert Himself and lead in the overthrow of the Roman occupiers. When Jesus refused to use His powers and defend Himself in Gethsemane the heartbroken Judas killed himself.
Another account relates to Judas as the noble treasurer of “The Society of the Poor.” Many times Christ is quoted as referring to “the poor.” Allegedly this was code language referring to a secret society He headed intend on overthrowing the Roman oppressors.
Previous generations having dealt with these same fallacious stories proved they knew how to separate wheat from chaff. Hopefully this enlightened generation will also.
Today old Gnosticism, long sense discredited, is back and marketing well to a public historical and Biblical uninformed on the subject. May we become as wise as those of the era of the emergence of these writing and acknowledge them for what they are, a lugubrious assault on Christianity by pseudo authors.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote: “The grass withers, and the flower fades, but the word of God stands forever” Isaiah 40:8.