QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Why do people claim that the book, The Davini Code, is factual??
The DaVinci Code is a best seller fiction book by Dan Brown. Besides being on the NewYork Times Best Seller List, it has spawned at least one ABC PrimeTime Special concerning whether Jesus was married or not (later repeated on the National Geographic Cable Channel (which also had a special about Leonardo DaVinci faking the Shroud of Turan…more about that another time).
What has happened to many Catholics and other Christians is that they find their faith challenged because they don’t know enough about their own Faith.
To answer this question, I have used my own knowledge of Church History and (just to be safe) from materials gathered from the following Journalists and Scholars:
Sandra Miesel (journalist for Crisis Magazine)
Margaret M. Mitchell of the University of Chicago Divinity School
Albert Mohler (Theologian of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Laurie Goodstein (of the NY Times)
Opus Dei’s Web Site
Amy Welborn (Our Sunday Visitor)
Charlotte Allen (Crisis Magazine and Author)
Luke Timothy Johnson (Theologian and Historian)
Thomas Bokenkotter (Theologian and Historian)
In the book The DaVinci Code, centers around the character, Robert Langdon, a Harvard University Professor, who studies and teaches Symbolism, and his quest to find the killer of the curator if the Lourve Museum in Paris (and clear his own name). Along the way he meets a beautiful cryptologist Sophie Nevue and a crippled millionaire historian Leigh Teabing. Chasing them is mad albino Opus Dei “monk” named Silas who will stop at nothing to prevent them from finding the “Holy Grail.”
What does the “Holy Grail” have to do with the murder of the Lourve Curator? Well, I’m not one to spoil a story, and this is more about the theology and “facts” that Dan Brown uses as the backdrop of the story, and that are misleading to many people. Dan Brown’s message is anti-Christian message, and he even makes the claim in the book that: “[E]very faith in the world is based on fabrication.”
“The Grail,” Robert Langdon said, “is symbolic of the lost goddess. When Christianity came along, the old pagan religions did not die easily. Legends of chivalric quests for the Holy Grail were in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost sacred feminine. Knights who claimed to be “searching for the chalice” were speaking in code as a way to protect themselves from a Church that had subjugated women, banished the Goddess, burned non-believers, and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine.” (The Da Vinci Code, pages 238-239)
Whoa! What’s wrong with this picture!
When the Knights of the Round Table or Indiana Jones looked for the “Holy Grail”, they were looking for the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper. (Now a bit of a spoiler…sorry) Dan Brown in his novel tells us that the “Holy Grail” was actually Mary Magdalene. She was the vessel that held the blood of Jesus Christ in her womb while bearing his children.
Over the centuries, the Grail-keepers have been guarding the true bloodline of Jesus and the relics of the Mary Magdalene, not the cup of Christ. Therefore, Dan Brown claims that “the quest for the Holy Grail is the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene”.
What are his Sources?
What books or articles are being used by Dan Brown as the background for his claims in The DaVinci Code?
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels is one source and perhaps the only true scholarly source. The other books are more esoteric histories: The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince; Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln; The Goddess in the Gospels: Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, both by Margaret Starbird; and The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker.
Some reviewers have said that his research is impeccable, but in truth, his sources are viewed by many theologians and historians as dubious.
Before we get into the Christian and Catholic errors in his book, let’s look at other errors that he Dan Brown makes:
1. He claims that the Merovingians founded Paris
a. while the Merovingians made Paris their capital, it was founded centuries before and conquererd by Julius Ceasar in 52 BC.
2. He claims that the Pope in Rome killed the Knights Templar using King Phillip the Fair of France as a dupe. Their bodies were burned at the Tiber River.
a. Actually the Pope was in Avignon France at the time and was a pawn of Philip the Fair who killed the Templars and burned (a few) on the River Seine in Paris.
3. He claims that the Church was responsible for burning 5 million women as witches starting in the Middle Ages.
a. Actually the latest figures for the witch craze state that from 30,000 – 50,000 people were involved (not all were burned, not all were women and not all killed by the Catholic Church)
4. He claims that the motions of the planet Venus trace a pentacle (the so-called Ishtar pentagram) symbolizing the goddess.
a. Actually, Venus doesn’t create a pentacle at all.
5. He claims that it takes 5 years for this pentacle to form in the sky and that is why the Olympic Games are 5 years apart and that the Olympic symbol was supposed to originally be a pentacle because they were meant to honor the Goddess Aphrodite.
a. The length of ancient Olympic games had nothing to do with Venus
b. The Olympic Symbols were always circles (one for each game held in modern times, but they stopped adding rings after 5 years)
c. The games were celebrated in honor of Zeus Olympias, not Aphrodite, and occurred every four years.
6. He claims that Walt Disney (a secret Goddess worshipper and a Mason) put imagery of the goddess into his movies including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid.
a. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that Uncle Walt died long before Little Mermaid was made, and somehow I don’t think Michael Eisner is a Goddess Worshipper and a Mason.
I could go on for a while:
7. Noah was an albino
8. Gothic architecture is full of goddess-worshipping symbols and Churches are built like a the body of a Goddess being masterminded by the Templars. (Forget the fact that the Templars didn’t build the Cathedrals).
9. Templar Churches are round as an insult to the Church and as a tribute to the divine feminine. (Not all Templar churches were round, and roundness honored the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem)
Let’s look at some of his most outrageous theological claims:
DaVinci Code “Facts”:
1) There were more than 80 gospels
a. Actually, while there were more than the 4 Gospels that we now have, but there was hardly 80.
2) The Bible is the product of man and the Emperor Constantine put it together
a. This is a “doozy”. The Hebrew Bible (which is popularly called the Old Testament) is the product of centuries of Jewish Scholarship. It’s final content that we have today approved by Rabbi’s in the 3rd Century AD. The New Testament floated around the Roman Empire in a variety of forms…Gospels, Letters of Paul, Letters from the Apostles. Saint Justin Martyr describes readings said during a Mass in Rome in the year 100AD, 200 years before Constantine, and most of what we call the New Testament was agreed upon by the Church 100 years before Constantine was born.
3) The earliest Christian records were among the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi texts and they don’t agree with the Bible.
a. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain only Old Testament writings and the Nag Hammadi texts contain what are called the Gnostic Gospels…gospels written after the original 4 Gospels (about 100 years later) and these books rejected by early Christians as not true writings about Jesus (so they certainly don’t agree with the Bible).
4) The marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is a matter of historical record.
a. However, there is no historical record that shows this.
5) Constantine invented the divinity of Jesus and excluded Gospels that didn’t agree. He destroyed thousands of documents about Jesus the man.
a. Even if you buy this theory…the Gnostic Gospels all claim Jesus is divine and Paul’s Letters (written before any of the Gospels around 10 years after Jesus died and rose from the dead) all claim Jesus is Divine .
6) Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire and shifted worship from Saturday to Sunday in honor of the Sun God.
a. Constantine removed persecution of Christians and allowed Christians to participate in the Empire, but he never made Christianity a state religion. This happened after his death. Christian worship is on Sunday because that is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Early Christians worshipped on the Jewish Sabbath and then celebrated the Lord’s Supper on Sunday. This gradually was combined to the Sunday worship.
7) Constantine coined the term heretic.
a. The word is Greek and is much more ancient than Constantine.
8) Rome’s official religion before Christianity was Sun worship.
a. Rome’s official religion was worship of the Emperor and worship of the Gods.
9) Early Jewish Worship in the Temple involved ritualistic sex worshiping the Male and Female Gods.
a. Not true…this would have been a blasphemy to the Jews. Early Hebrews did believe in a Male and Female God, and some worship of this so-called “Queen of Heaven” continued into the time of the prophet Isaiah, but this was not the norm, and NEVER involved the Jewish Temple.
10) Constantine held the Council of Nicea to vote of Jesus as God. It was a close vote.
a. Not true…The Council of Nicea was held to deal with the Arian Heresy. Arius was an Egyptian priest who claimed that Jesus was a man-God and not one with God. So, in fact, Arius believed that Jesus was divine, but just not equal of God. Also, the vote was not even close.
11) Mary Magdalen was maligned by the Church, made into a prostitute and stricken from the Bible.
a. This is the most hideous of lies, and it makes me mad…Mary Magdalen is a Saint and honored above all other women in the Church (except Mary, the Mother of Jesus). She was the one to whom Jesus appeared after his Resurrection, and who went and told the Apostles. Churches are named after her and we have a stain glass window of her in our own Parish Church (Immaculate Conception).
12) Jehovah is a union between the masculine Jah and “Havah” a pre-Hebrew name for Eve.
a. Jewish custom demands that one not say the name of God(”Yawheh”). So, when people read from the Torah, they would insert the vowels from the Hebrew word for “Lord” (“Adonai”) and produced the name “Jehovah”. “Jehovah” is an artificial word intended to allow a devout Jew to say God's name without really saying it.
13) The Gnostic Gospel of Philip says that Jesus kissed Mary on the mouth and she was his special companion.
a. First, this is a Gnostic Gospel and written many years after the Gospels of the New Testament.
b. Second, if you want to use it as a source, what the Gospel of Philip says is that Mary was a special “friend” to Jesus (not really a lover) and that he kissed her on the …well, the only copy of the Gospel of Philip is damaged and so the word no longer exists…it is missing from the text.
14) Opus Dei is a Cult in the Church that operates outside the Law. Women are separated from Men and the monks of the order whip themselves.
a. Opus Dei is a lay movement…lay means that it is for non-Clergy…there are no Opus Dei monks. It is not a cult, but an organization in the Church dedicated to piety. Opus Dei members are expected to live in the world, have families (if that’s their calling), and they do offer sacrifices in their daily lives, but they don’t whip themselves.
Please read more about it. Check out these books from your local library or purchase them from a book store:
"The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code" by Carl E. Olson, Sandra Miesel (an excellent book from a historical and Catholic perspective)
"Preaching Another Jesus: Decoding Dan Brown's DaVinci Code Hoax" by Shawn McDonnell
"Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts" by James Garlow
G.K. Chesterton said that orthodoxy is not only true; it is infinitely more interesting than heresy. It is alive and compelling and life changing. Heresies comes and go, but truth is unchanged and unchangeable
- Deacon George Kozak (12/04)