The DaVinci Code – Part 4

The DaVinci Code was released by Dan Brown in March 2003. It quickly rose on the “New York Times” bestseller list. It is now in print in over 100 countries.

It is a conspiracy theory based on the premise that there is “scientific evidence that the New Testament is false testimony” (p.341).

On the title page Brown claims: “All description of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are true.”

He claims to have “secret knowledge” essential to knowing God.

He asserts, “The church has two thousand years of experience pressuring those who threaten to unveil its lies. Since the days of Constantine, the church has successfully hidden the truth about Mary Magdalene and Jesus” (P. 407).

Boldly Brown wrote: Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false” (P. 235).

His sources consist principally of the Gnostic gospels written in the second and third centuries and discovered in 1945, in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. He regards these spurious books as the “lost books of the Bible.”

None of these works meet the consensus criteria used to determine if an ancient writing was sacred. These were:
Was it written by an apostle of Christ or by someone with direct contact with the apostles?
Did the questionable writings receive acceptance as consistent with the known teachings of Christ?
Did they evidence the fruits of spiritual power and truth?

None of the Gnostic gospels meet these standards. (See “The Gnostic Gospels” on this web site.)

Long ago Aristotle established a commendable criteria for demonstrating the credibility of an ancient document. Principles were:
Was the person an eye witness to the event recorded?
How many copies of the record do we have and how close are they to the event they describe?
Are there other sources outside the document that corroborate the document’s claim?

These are still accepted standards for verifying ancient documents. The DaVinci Code fails on each point.

Historical fiction is a literary style in which fictional characters live within the realm of historical facts. Professor Sarah K. Herz in her syllabus “Using Historical Fiction in The History Classroom” notes: “The author of historical fiction must blend historical facts with imagination and creative style to master his art…. the writer of historical fiction must not distort past reality; the writer must not manipulate historical facts to make the novel more interesting and exciting.” However, that is exactly what Brown does from beginning to end.

He represents the Priory of Sion as a secret society which has kept the truth about Jesus secret for years.

The Priory of Sion was a monastic order founded in Jerusalem in 1100 and later merged with the Jesuits in 1617. They didn’t come into existence until after the time in which Brown said they began to hide the truth about Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

A second use of the title was made by Pierre Plantard who in 1954, established a group to help persons needing low-cost housing. It was dissolved in 1957.

In the 1960s and 70s Plantard once more used the name, “Priory of Sion.” He created a number of forged documents to “prove” the reality of a bloodline from Jesus and Mary through the French Kings to himself. These bogus documents were broadly distributed in France including the National Library.
In 1993, under oath Plantard admitted to a French judge he had fabricated all the documents related to the Priory of Sion. Even being aware of the admitted hoax by Plantard, Brown used them as a primary “secret source” in his writing.

Brown defined the “Holy Grail” as being Mary Magdalene, not the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper. In reality the term wasn’t used until 1170, in “Perceval,” a work related to the legend of King Arthur. There are no writings eluding to Mary as the “Holy Grail” prior to this.

Yet another misrepresentation of history relates to the Opus Dei. Brown states it as a fact “The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercion, and dangerous practices known as “corporal mortification.’” Quite the contrary, Opus Dei was a self-denying group devoted to sacrificial good works.

The Bible neither states Jesus stayed single or got married. However, every internal line of logic says He did not marry.

Paul wrote the church in Corinth: “Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” (I Cor. 9:5). If Jesus were married He would doubtless have been used as the highest example validating taking along wives.

Texts referring to the family of Jesus mention His mother, brothers, and sisters but never a wife.

Likewise when Mary is mentioned in Scripture she is never linked to a man as his wife.

When Paul was seeking to establish a minister’s right to marry he surely would have mentioned Christ’s marriage had such existed.

At the cross Jesus showed great compassion regarding His mother but makes no mention of Mary Magdalene. Were she His wife surely He would have shown her comparable compassion.

Brown wrote, “The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine.” (P. 231).

He further notes, “Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death…Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits…The earlier [Gnostic] gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.” (P. 234). False!

No Gnostic gospels were burned at the Council of Nicaea, the alleged site of the burning. What was burned were heretical writing by an errant priest Arian.

The collection of New Testament books was started long before Constantine. (See “How We Got our Bible” on this web site.) It wasn’t completed until 70 years after his death.

Following are some Scripture passages verifying the deity of Christ long before Constantine: Acts 20:28; Titus 2:13; Colossians 2:9; Romans 9:5; I Timothy 3:16) (See “The Deity of Christ” on this web site.)

Bottom line, The DaVinci Code is not a historical novel. It is fiction. If one is going to read it there should be an awareness it is a secular novel that dramatically distorts history.