I have reproduced this article by Kel Richards on www.askthebible.com because concerns have been raised about the integrity of the fictional book and fictional film called "The Da Vinci Code." by Dan Brown.
Does this book provide serious evidence to inflict a knock out punch to the truth of the Bible? or is it merely a tissue of lies?
Review of the "The Da Vinci Code" by Kel Richards - (Sydney Broadcaster on ABC & 103.2FM and christian)
The book "The Da Vinci Code" written by Dan Brown is important, if only in the sense that it's a best-seller that's sold over eight million copies, and will soon be released as a major motion picture, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard (ex Happy Days). That means that whatever this book says has already been widely distributed, and once the movie is released it will be even more widely spread.
Now, I have to admit that I have not read the book. However, the contents of the book are well known, and I've done a great deal of research, so I know what the book claims, and can give you an evaluation of it, which is that almost everything the book claims about Jesus is false. It is fiction, not fact. It is a tissue of lies.
There is an excellent article by Michael Gleghorn on the Probe website about this book "The Da Vinci Code", and in what follows I'll summarise the main points of that article. See http://www.probe.org/docs/davinci.html
However, there is one thing to bear in mind first: The Da Vinci Code is a novel, a thriller. It is written as a piece of entertainment, not a piece of scholarship. At the same time the author has made it clear that he wants to persuade his readers that this piece of fiction is true (with the goal, we must assume, of undermining Christian faith).
If you set out to read The Da Vinci Code (something I don't recommend you do) the first word you will encounter, in bold uppercase letters, is the word "FACT." Shortly thereafter Brown writes, "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." And the average reader, with no special knowledge or training in these areas, will assume the statement is true. But there is a deception going on here. Whether Dan Brown is being deliberately deceptive, or whether he believes all this rubbish himself and is passing it on in all sincerity, it's impossible to know.
The story begins with the murder of a curator in the Louvre art museum in Paris. But this curator isn't just interested in art; he's also the Grand Master of a secret society known as the Priory of Sion. The Priory guards an ancient secret that, if revealed, would undermine the authority of the church and completely discredit biblical Christianity. Before dying, the curator attempts to pass on the secret to his granddaughter Sophie, a cryptographer, and Harvard professor Robert Langdon, by leaving a number of clues that he hopes will guide them to the truth.
So what's this amazing secret? It is: the location, and true identity, of the much-sought-after Holy Grail. But in Brown's novel, the Grail is not the cup allegedly used by Christ at the Last Supper. Rather, it's the person of Mary Magdalene, who was (the story claims) the wife of Jesus, and she carried on the royal bloodline of Christ by giving birth to his child! The Priory of Sion carefully guards the secret location of Mary's tomb and serves to protect the bloodline of Jesus that has continued to this day!
Now all of this is unhistorical nonsense. The idea that Jesus did not die on the Cross, but survived and married Mary Magdalene, and their children became the royal family of France, and that the Roman Catholic church has a special hit squad of assassins who kill anyone who discovers this truth, but that Leonardo Da Vinci knew this truth and concealed hidden clues to it in his paintings - is the far-fetched nonsense that it appears to be. Any Robert Ludlum thriller will be more credible that this fictional fantasy.
Furthermore, this astonishing piece of fictional confectionary was published as a book of serious history some years ago, and real historians around the world did nothing but laugh - because there is not a single piece of historical evidence to support it, and a great deal of solid historical evidence to refute it.
Dan Brown, of course, gets around this by presenting the story not as fact but as a novel - as a lightweight, entertaining thriller. But "The Da Vinci Code" remains an attack on Christianity, and on the authority of the Bible.
The key to understanding the book The Da Vinci Code is this: the things it reports as fact are not facts - they are fictional inventions. The bits of historical evidence the book claims exist do not exist - they are figments of the author's imagination. It is fiction. It is a novel. It is a thriller. It is simply not true.
Let me give you an example of fiction masquerading as fact in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
First, the underlying basis of the book's claims is that the account of Jesus found in the New Testament part of the Bible is untrue and unreliable. Now, if you turn to the New Testament you'll find it begins with four short biographies of Jesus named after the men who wrote them: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They (together with the rest of the Bible) are the source of what we know about Jesus. Dan Brown's basic argument is that they can't be trusted.
Dan Brown claims that an ancient Roman emperor named Constantine (whose ruled the Roman Empire from ad 306 to ad 337) had the gospels changed, re-written, embellished, to take out evidence that Jesus was human, and to make Jesus look more god-like. This is something he is supposed to have ordered at the Council of Nicea (an important council of the early church) held in ad 325.
However, we know for a fact this claim is untrue.
We have copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that are significantly earlier than Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. Although none of the copies are complete, we do have nearly complete copies of both Luke and John in a codex dated between AD 175 and 225- at least one hundred years before the Council of Nicaea. Another manuscript, dating from about AD200 or earlier, contains most of John's Gospel. But why is this important?
First, we can compare these pre-Nicene manuscripts with those that followed Nicaea to see if any embellishment occurred. None did. Second, the pre-Nicene versions of John's Gospel include some of the strongest declarations that was Jesus was the Creator God come in human form on record. That is, the most explicit declarations of Jesus' deity in any of our gospels are already found in manuscripts thatpre-date Constantine by more than a hundred years! So much for the theory that they were embellished!
Each of these gospels was written in the first century AD. Interestingly, the disciplines of history and archaeology are a great help in corroborating the general reliability of the gospel writers. Where these authors mention people, places and events that can be checked against other ancient sources, they are consistently shown to be utterly reliable.
Thus, we have good grounds for trusting the New Testament gospels.
And, of course, if the New Testament gospels are true,then The Da Vinci Code is false.
If you'd like to investigate this further here are some books I can recommend. First, a book called
Second, there's an excellent book called
Both these books are solid, reliable history - and they cite real, historical evidence, not the fictional (pretend) evidence that the novel relies on. Finally, there is a book called
This book which exposes the fantasies in Dan Brown's novel step by step.
The real agenda of The Da Vinci Code is to assert that Jesus was not God and never claimed to be God, but that this was a later invention. However, the historical evidence is that this is exactly the claim that Jesus made. Jesus, a devout Jew, accepted the worship of his first followers, because he clearly knew himself to be the God of the Universe who deserves our worship. That is the foundation of Christianity.
The earliest Christian documents were letters written by the first followers of Jesus, and they clearly spell out the fact that Jesus was God. Those early letters say of Jesus: "in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." (Colossians 2 verse 9) And in Titus 2 verse 13 we read about "our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ." That's who the very earliest documents tell us that Jesus Christ was (and is!): the True and Living God.
Even the non-Christian historical evidence supports this understanding of Jesus. In a letter from Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan, dated around ad 112 (that is, 200 years before Constantine), Pliny said the early Christians were "in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day... when they sang... a hymn to Christ, as to a god."
The Da Vinci Code is unhistorical fiction. It may be entertaining, but it's entirely untrue.
The Da Vinci Code is unhistorical FICTION. The lesson is clear. Don't believe everything you read or see at the movies. Do your homework before you blindly accept a fictional book as the receptacle for some new truth that supposedly knocks Biblical truth out of the ballpark.
Sadly, Dan Brown can't get even basic historical facts correct. He fails on church architecture, ancient Israel, religious symbols, the Roman Empire and different spiritual belief systems.
FOUR EXAMPLES (refer Reference Book below)
Richard Abanes has undertaken a thorough and detailed examination of over 54 problem areas with the "Da Vinci code", www.askthebible.com has just reported a short selection of his analysis. If you seek further information obtain the book. I read it carefully and it's well written and provides detailed reference material.
(1) Firstly, Dan Brown claims that the Louvre in Paris is "constructed of exactly 666 panes of glass". Oh Really. That's amazing you might think, 666 ah!!! - Sadly, Dan Brown didn't take the time to check the official Louvre Website. This comment is false.
(2) Secondly, Dan Brown claims that the Greeks ran their Olympic Games as a tribute to the planet Venus on a eight year cycle. Wrong Again , Brown !
(3) Thirdly, Brown claims on page 157 and 158 that the Priory of Sion was founded in 1099 by the King of France, named Godfrey of Bouillon and this Priory "created a military arm - a group of nine knights, known as the Knights Templar." Brown alleges that this highly secretive society preserved knowledge of Jesus Christ's marriage to Mary Magdalene and their so called descendants. Also, on page 244 Brown claims that a troubling theme of the Gnostic gospels was Mary Magdalene's marriage to Jesus Christ.
These claims are complete Rubbish.
The Gnostic gospels contain no reference to a marriage between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ.
The Priory of Sion was in fact registered on the 7th May 1956 by a French crank and conman called Pierre Plantard. Prior to this Plantard in 1953 served a 6 month prison term for fraud and embezzlement. The official registration form of the Priory of Sion is shown on page 55 of the Abanes book below. Pierre Plantard became obsessed with the idea of a French royal bloodline and as part of the Priory of Sion scam forged three documents. They are entitled in english language as:-
(1) "A Geneology of Merovingian kings"
(2) "the Merovingian descendents, or the enigma of the Visigothic Razes"
(3) ) "the secret records of Henri Lobineau, from about 1967" (aka Les Dossiers Secrets)
The third was planted in the French National Library "Bibliotheque Nationale" by Plantard in 1967 and this is the so called "firmly established document" that Dan Brown uses to prove beyond doubt and reveal the names of the Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion. (refer pages 206 and 326) who supposedly hid the truth of the so called union of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
Of course the serious problem for the "Da Vinci Code" and "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" books is that these three (3) forged documents, noted above are their primary reference material. Dan Brown won't tell you this of course because these facts would destroy the credibility of his book. As the 3 documents are forgeries and have no historical value we can therefore safely claim both books, the "Da Vinci Code" and "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" are flawed and therefore complete fiction.
In fact, in 1993 Plantard admitted before French authorities that "he had made it all up." I understand Plantard died around 2000. His death is very convenient for Dan Brown because Plantard can't be interviewed. Most readers of the Da Vinci Code have never heard about Mr Pierre Plantard and Dan's not about to tell us and ruin the fortune he is generating from his fictional books.
(4) Fourthly, Brown claims on page 231 of the Da Vinci Code that Leonardo Da Vinci made the following statement about the New testament section of the Holy Bible as follows "Many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitude"
Wrong again, Dan Brown. This statement has nothing to do with the Bible. When Da Vinci made this comment in his "notebook ( not laptop) on polemics and speculation" he was in fact speaking about alchemy not the Holy Bible.
As you can see from these 4 brief examples about the Da Vinci Code, sadly Dan Brown continues to pass off deceptions and distortions as truths and forged documents as reliable evidence to support the Da Vinci Code.
Sandra Miesel from CRISIS Magazine states..."So error laden is the Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions when Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth." Well said Sandra.
SO.......DON'T BE FOOLED
TO READ AND BELIEVE A FICTIONAL NONSENSICAL BOOK like the "The Da Vinci Code" AND USE IT AS A BASIS FOR INVALIDATING or DESTROYING 2000 YEARS OF HISTORICALLY SUPPORTED CHRISTIAN BELIEF and the TRUTH OF THE BIBLE is PLAINLY STUPID.