The DaVinci Code – Part 2

The DaVinci Code has been number one on the New York Times, Barnes & Noble, and Wal Mart best seller lists and is destined for Hollywood. Prevailing skepticism in our society has resulted in it being a popular work. The idea of a past conspiracy, covert actions, long kept secrets, and untold “truth” cultivate a market for such a work.

A lack of trust in the past has opened the door for the author to use pseudo-scholarship to present his bogus “truth.” He cozies up to the reader as though he only is the one who at last is going to tell the real story. The author cleverly writes in such a way as to give the impression the book is history. In essence the book is a bad amalgam of old paganism and old Gnosticism to comprise an intriguing and entertaining novel. Bottom line, it is fiction.

The thesis is Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus. She along with their children moved to south France and formed a royal line known as the Marovingians. This fact, known only to a select few, was allegedly recorded in documents buried with Mary. Supposedly the Catholic Church worked to suppress this information which revealed Christianity to be less than is currently accepted.

Historically there is no accepted record that hints of this. There are eleven references to Mary Magdalene in the Bible. It was the custom of the era in which the gospels were written to refer to a woman by the name of her husband. She is known only by her home town. Had she been married to Jesus reference to her would have been to “Mary, wife of Jesus.”

The book gets its title from the artist Leonardo DaVinci who reputedly was a member of a secret guild that knew the true story of the marriage of Mary and Jesus. He is represented as leaving clues to the marriage in some of his paintings, most notably The Last Super. One code involved placing a “V” near one of the figures in the painting with rather feminine features. This character is normally assumed to be John but the author says it was Mary Magdalene. The “V” symbol in that era was the feminine sign.

The author does not mention there is another “V” on the other side of the painting. The two simply had to do with artistic balance and not a great revelation.

Not only is the book fiction it is historically inaccurate in many details of its false thesis. An example of this is how the Gospels were chosen. The author says 80 gospels were laid out on a table at a council and a group of men chose those they liked. There are clear and reputable records that refute this. There were less that 12 works considered and that was done many years in advance of the council in which it is said to have happened.

The author represents the work as being the work of elite scholarship. It is instead a cleverly written mystery novel but not a scholarly work.

It is one of several emerging works intended to discredit Jesus Christ. In them He is at best represented as a great prophet but not as deity as revealed in such Scripture as: Colossians 2:9, Titus 2:13, Romans 9:5, I Timothy 3:16, and Acts 20:28.

Now consider some historical and theological errors in The DaVinci Code. Without a knowledge of true history the average reader has no way to detect and correct these distinct errors.

The book begins with an introductory page identified as “FACT” which avows “all descriptions of…documents…in this novel are accurate.” NOT! This gives the reader the false impression the work is based on history. It claims to be based on the Gnostic Gospels, however it is not history.

Most persons have never heard of the Gnostic Gospels. They were written by a sect known as the Gnostics. Some such sects professed to be Christian but had nothing in common with Christianity. Historically the movement has been seen not as a phenomenon that presses forward but rather backward and stationary against the rise of universal Christianity. The movement included elements of Greek Hellenism, Zoroastrianism, and Egyptology. Gnosticism posed the most challenging opposition to the emergence of Christianity. The movement sought to destroy the true historical foundation of Christianity. It failed because it was fraudulent.

A segment of their writings known as the Gnostic Gospels have little resemblance to the four gospels of the New Testament. They do not present biographical insight regarding the historical Christ. Gnosticism was an unsuccessful attempt to inject poison into the mainstream of early Christianity. Now these ancient writings have been revived in an effort to discredit modern Christianity. Consider these errors in The DaVinci Code based largely on these false gospels written primarily by the Nag Hammadi Gnostic sect.

ERROR #1. The assertion the New Testament Gospels are not the earliest Gospels, rather the Gnostic ones are.

Teabing and Langdon, two fictitious “scholars” in the novel assert such claims. Dan Brown, the author relies heavily on two Gnostic Gospels, The Gospel of Philip and The Gospel of Mary. In reality there is no evidence either of these existed before the late second century, long after the writing of the New Testament Gospels. The philosophy contained in these bogus gospels was not espoused until the late second century and was immediately refuted by Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian who wrote at that time. These books represent a world view with more in common with Hellenism than Christianity.

ERROR # 2. Jesus was not represented as anything other that a human being until declared divine at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.

This falsehood overlooks the fact Jesus is called THEOS, “God,” seven times in the New Testament and KURIOS, “Lord,” many times in reference to His divinity. The Council of Nicea in the fourth century and the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century simply confirmed this biblical revelation from the much earlier period.

ERROR # 3. Constantine suppressed the earlier Gnostic Gospels and forced the present New Testament Gospels and the concept of Christ’s divinity on the church.

Long before Constantine and the Gnostic Gospels came on the scene the four New Testament Gospels were circulated together as authoritative sources for the church. The early church did not recognize the Gnostic Gospels as authoritative. They did not suppress them, they merely revealed their unreliability.

ERROR # 4. Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
The New Testament gives no hint of this. The concept is drawn from the Gospel of Philip written in the late third century.

In his novel Brown has the character Teabing argue the word “companion” in the passage in question in Aramaic means “spouse” and it does. However, the Gnostic Gospels were written not in Aramaic but Coptic in which it does not mean wife. In reality the text does not clearly say Jesus was married, much less to Mary Magdalene.

ERROR # 5. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt are the oldest Christian records.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are purely Jewish documents. They are in no way Christian. Likewise, there is no indication any of the Gnostic texts referenced were written before the late second century. The New Testament documents were much earlier.

ERROR # 6. The early church suppressed the Sacred Feminine, a female deity.

The Bible makes it clear God is neither male nor female. He is Spirit. Christianity did not replace ancient female deities with one or more male deities. Ancient Jews and Christians were a minority insisting God is a Spirit.

SUMMARY: The DaVinci Code has put a new face on an old fraud.

These errors have been distilled from The DaVinci Code by Ben Witherington III writing in “Biblical Archaeology Review,” Volume 30, number 3.

Persons wanting to read creditable historical works on related topics should consider:
The DaVinci Code Decoded, Darrell Bock [From which much of the material in the first of this article was derived.]
Pocket History of the Church, Jeffrey Bingham
Our Legacy: The History of Christian Doctrine, John Hannah
A Survey of Bible Doctrine, Charles Ryrie