Debunking the Da Vinci Hoax: filled with errors, falsehoods, and blatant, anti-Christian bias, The Da Vinci Code has received phenomenal promotion from the major secular media.
Not since the debut of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has a work of fiction had an impact akin to that of Dan Brown's 2003 blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code. The book has spent an astounding a·stound
tr.v. a·stound·ed, a·stound·ing, a·stounds
To astonish and bewilder. See Synonyms at surprise.
[From Middle English astoned, past participle of astonen, 96 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, most of that time in the Number One or Number Two slot. What's more, The Da Vinci Code has sold over 12 million copies worldwide despite not yet having been released in paperback. The book has been translated into 30 languages, and its unrivaled popularity has made author Dan Brown a very rich man, with sales estimated at over $210 million and another $75 million anticipated in paperback sales. Recently, Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard bought the rights to make a film version of the book, starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks in the leading role.
The American media have been stricken with Da Vinci fever. For example, the National Geographic Channel's "Da Vinci Code: The Full Story" was the only program in the channel's five-year history to attract over a million viewers (2.8 million to be precise). ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. broadcast an entire primetime special about the phenomenon. Both Time and Newsweek have devoted cover stories to the book and the controversy surrounding it, while U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report
Weekly newsmagazine published in Washington, D.C. U.S. News was founded in 1933 by David Lawrence (1888–1973) to cover important domestic events; he founded World Report in 1945 to treat world news. The two magazines were merged in 1948. published an 88-page special issue entitled "Secrets of the Da Vinci Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Bestselling Novel."
Just as extraordinary is the enormous industry that has grown up around The Da Vinci Code. USA Today estimates that there are over 90 books in print related to The Da Vinci Code itself, and a search on bookseller Amazon.com's website lists over 30 books on the topic.
In most bookstores, The Da Vinci Code is prominently displayed with other popular works of fiction. But The Da Vinci Code is not just another thrilling example of romance or mystery. It is a carelessly assembled hodgepodge of anti-Christian (particularly anti-Catholic) attacks deceptively ensconced en·sconce
tr.v. en·sconced, en·sconc·ing, en·sconc·es
1. To settle (oneself) securely or comfortably: She ensconced herself in an armchair.
2. within a framework of mystery, romance, and historical fiction. The three principal claims against Christianity made by Dan Brown's novel are, first, that--despite what Christians believe--Christ is not divine and the early Church did not claim He was divine until the fourth century; second, that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children who were the ancestors of a royal family of early France known as the Merovingians; and finally, that the Catholic Church, knowing Christianity to be built on lies, has created and/or encouraged numerous secret societies dedicated to concealing these damaging "truths" from gullible Christian believers.
The main theme of The Da Vinci Code is that Christianity is a massive hoax perpetrated and perpetuated by the founders and leaders of Christianity, particularly the Vatican. In the words of Dan Brown's website, "the greatest conspiracy of the past 2000 years is about to unravel."
According to Brown, one of the conspiratorial societies concealing the fraudulent origins of Christianity The followers of Jesus composed an apocalyptic Jewish sect during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. Some groups that followed Jesus were strictly Jewish, such as the Ebionites, as were the church leaders in Jerusalem, collectively called Jewish Christians. is the Priory of Sion. This ancient fraternity, Brown claims, is protecting the truth about the enigma of the "Holy Grail" until such time as they deem it appropriate to reveal their hidden knowledge to the world, to the detriment of Christianity. In The Da Vinci Code we read, despite what the world has been led to believe, that the Holy Grail is not the chalice chalice [Lat.,=cup], ancient name for a drinking cup, retained for the eucharistic or communion cup. Its use commemorates the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, but the code name for Mary Magdalene, the mother of a royal bloodline blood·line
The direct line of descent; a pedigree. allegedly descended from Jesus of Nazareth. This notion is not original to Dan Brown; it was set forth in the "nonfiction" book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a self-proclaimed "historical detective story" first published in 1982 by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. The earlier book describes the Priory of Sion and its alleged relationship with anti-Christian heresies and secret societies, from the early Gnostics to the Medieval Cathars and Knights Templar. Like Brown's novel, Holy Blood, Holy Grail argues that the entire mythology associated with the Grail, as well as a veritable cavalcade cav·al·cade
1. A procession of riders or horse-drawn carriages.
2. A ceremonial procession or display.
3. A succession or series: starred in a cavalcade of Broadway hits. of heretical organizations throughout the history of Christianity
tr.v. de·bunked, de·bunk·ing, de·bunks
To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of: debunk a supposed miracle drug. the divinity of Jesus Christ.
The Da Vinci Code, following Holy Blood, Holy Grail, names various luminaries of the past, such as Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci (də vĭn`chē, Ital. lāōnär`dō dä vēn`chē), 1452–1519, Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, and scientist, b. near Vinci, a hill village in Tuscany. , Isaac Newton, and Victor Hugo, as Grand Masters of the Priory. As Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln have shown, the Priory of Sion was registered with the French government in 1956. However, the group's claims of great antiquity and far-reaching influence in medieval and early modern Europe The early modern period is a term used by historians to refer to the period in Western Europe and its first colonies which spans the two centuries between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. are less convincing. Most of the "evidence" assembled by Baigent et al. consists of non-documentary material gathered from coded epitaphs, works of art, and medieval buildings, and is presented in Holy Blood, Holy Grail as proof-positive of the ancient pedigree of the Priory of Sion. Dan Brown, however, chooses to retail the rather extravagant claims of Baigent et al. as unassailable historical fact.
The Da Vinci Code repeatedly makes clear its disdain for faith and authority, particularly the Christian faith and the moral and ecclesiastical authority of the Catholic Church. In the words of one of the novel's principal characters, "Every faith in the world is based on fabrication." Dan Brown is no less subtle in expressing his view of the reliability of history: "history," states Leigh Teabing (The Da Vinci Code's house historian, whose name is a transparent anagram anagram [Gr.,=something read backward], rearrangement of the letters of a word or words to make another word or other words. A famous Latin anagram was an answer made out of a question asked by Pilate. on the surnames of Baigent and Leigh, two of the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail), "is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books--books which glorify their own cause and disparage dis·par·age
tr.v. dis·par·aged, dis·par·ag·ing, dis·par·ag·es
1. To speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way; belittle. See Synonyms at decry.
2. To reduce in esteem or rank. the conquered foe.... What is history but a fable agreed upon?"
Throughout The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown instructs the reader that the salacious sa·la·cious
1. Appealing to or stimulating sexual desire; lascivious.
2. Lustful; bawdy.
[From Latin sal , sordid, and all too human truth about Jesus' character and life has been suppressed by the puppet masters at the Vatican for their own aggrandizement ag·gran·dize
tr.v. ag·gran·dized, ag·gran·diz·ing, ag·gran·diz·es
1. To increase the scope of; extend.
2. To make greater in power, influence, stature, or reputation.
3. . Since the Catholic Church's inception, Brown implies, Catholic leaders have purposefully hidden the truth, murdered those who dare question its authority, and smeared any who presume to suggest that there may be another more accurate version of the dogma adhered to by early Christians.
Sources of "Truth"
In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown turns to the Dead Sea Scrolls Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient leather and papyrus scrolls first discovered in 1947 in caves on the NW shore of the Dead Sea. Most of the documents were written or copied between the 1st cent. B.C. and the first half of the 1st cent. A.D. for proof of these earth-shaking revelations. Using the voice of Leigh Teabing, Brown informs the reader that the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the "historical record" included in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In reality, the Dead Sea Scrolls are Jewish documents with nothing Christian in them. They were probably compiled circa 100 B.C. by a separatist Jewish sect living in the desert of Judea in a settlement known as Qumran. These documents are most valuable for the early copies of books of the Old Testament found among the scrolls. Some of these versions of the Old Testament books are among the oldest extant copies. The records kept by this Jewish community are also valuable for the detailed description of life around the time of Jesus. At no point, however, is Jesus ever mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, much less Mary Magdalene or her ostensible Apparent; visible; exhibited.
Ostensible authority is power that a principal, either by design or through the absence of ordinary care, permits others to believe his or her agent possesses. marriage to Jesus.
Brown also informs the reader that early Christian writers taught that Mary Magdalene was among the chief apostles and that she was married to Jesus Christ. But not a single ancient source known asserts that Jesus was married--to Mary Magdalene or anyone else. In spite of this, The Da Vinci Code declares that the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is "part of the historical record." Dan Brown offers the non-canonical "gospels" of Mary and Philip as additional proof of ancient Christian belief in the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, citing as evidence a brief and ambiguously translated passage alluding to Jesus' love for Mary Magdalene. However, there is not a single reference in the Gospel of Mary or the Gospel of Philip The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a text of New Testament apocrypha, dating back to around the third century but lost to modern researchers until it was rediscovered by accident in the mid-20th century. to any marriage of Jesus, or to a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene.
Perhaps the most anti-Christian "revelation" in The Da Vinci Code is Brown's claim that Christians did not believe in the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God until the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The Da Vinci Code presents the Council of Nicea as a sort of revolutionary tribunal presided over by a cynical emperor Constantine and a cabal of conniving ecclesiastics ECCLESIASTICS, canon law. Those persons who compose the hierarchical state of the church. They are regular and secular. Aso & Man. Inst. B. 2, t. 5, c. 4, Sec. 1. who decided to elevate Jesus to godhood and turn Christianity into a new state religion to replace the Roman cult of Sol Invictus, the sun god Mithra. Brown recycles tiresome canards about orthodox Christianity borrowing all of its motifs--the virgin birth, the slain and resurrected Son of God, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, for example--from pagan religions. According to Brown's version of events, early Christianity was little more than warmed-over, denatured de·na·ture
tr.v. de·na·tured, de·na·tur·ing, de·na·tures
1. To change the nature or natural qualities of.
2. paganism, with certain crucial elements, like the cult of the "sacred feminine," willfully willfully adv. referring to doing something intentionally, purposefully and stubbornly. Examples: "He drove the car willfully into the crowd on the sidewalk." "She willfully left the dangerous substances on the property." (See: willful) suppressed. What's more, in the words of Leigh Teabing, "the Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of god. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions."
In point of fact, while the Council of Nicea was largely concerned with the heresy of Arianism, whose adherents rejected the full divinity of Jesus, most Christians believed then, as they had from the very earliest days of the Church, that Jesus of Nazareth was the literal and divine Son of God. Jesus Himself said so on many occasions, as recorded in the four Gospel accounts, and His persecutors, while refusing to believe His testimony, certainly understood what He meant when they accused Him of blasphemy.
Furthermore, the biblical epistles EPISTLES, civil law. The name given to a species of rescript. Epistles were the answers given by the prince, when magistrates submitted to him a question of law. Vicle Rescripts. are full of references to Jesus' divine status, as when Paul taught the Philippians, "Let this be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." Additionally, writings of early Christians such as Ignatius of Antioch 1. ^ See "Ignatius" in The Westminster Dictionary of Church History, ed. Jerald Brauer (Philadelphia:Westminster, 1971) and also David Hugh Farmer, "Ignatius of Antioch" in The Oxford Dictionary of the Saints (New York:Oxford University Press, 1987).
2. (d. circa 110 A.D.) also described Jesus as God: "There is one physician, both fleshly flesh·ly
adj. flesh·li·er, flesh·li·est
1. Of or relating to the body; corporeal. See Synonyms at bodily.
2. Of, relating to, or inclined to carnality; sensual.
3. and spiritual, born and unborn, God come in the flesh, true life in death, from both Mary and God, first subject to suffering and then beyond suffering, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Ignatius, To the Ephesians, 7:2).
To Brown's blithe blithe
adj. blith·er, blith·est
1. Carefree and lighthearted.
2. Lacking or showing a lack of due concern; casual: spoke with blithe ignorance of the true situation. dismissal of the divine origin of the Bible, we can only point out that billions of Christians and Jews through the ages, having taken stock of its sublimely-worded books of history, prophecy, and moral teachings, would beg to disagree on grounds of religious faith--a basis for credence more valid than Brown's smirking and unoriginal sophisms.
As for the role of paganism, the sincerity of Constantine's conversion has been much debated, but his motives for embracing Christianity, still far from the dominant creed in his day, are far from clear. And critics like Brown who accuse Christianity of the wholesale importation of pagan mythology and ritual willfully ignore evidence to the contrary. Tertullian and other patristic pa·tris·tic also pa·tris·ti·cal
Of or relating to the fathers of the early Christian church or their writings.
pa·tris writers, for example, accused adherents of the Roman cult of Mithra of deliberately parodying Christianity, rather than the reverse. That many of the later Roman traditions surrounding this ancient Persian god are not traceable in Persian religion suggests at the very least that the cult of Mithra was as innovative as Brown and others accuse Christianity of being.
Why It Matters
The mass media have been overwhelmingly hospitable to Brown's faith-destroying fiction. The author's own website features blurbs from dozens of print and broadcast outlets praising The Da Vinci Code and encouraging "thinking" Christians to read it. In very stark contrast, the other Christianity-centered popular culture craze in recent months, Mel Gibson's sympathetic, faith-based cinematic retelling of Christ's suffering and crucifixion in the blockbuster film The Passion of the Christ, was ignored at the recent Academy Awards and reviled, repeatedly and stridently, in media the world over for its allegedly intolerant, hate-filled, and historically-questionable content. Where the admissibility of Christianity is concerned, the priorities and biases of the media elites speak loud and clear.
As for the motives of Dan Brown, his own website offers the following rationale: "The dialogue itself is a deeply empowering and positive force for everyone involved. Suddenly, enormous numbers of people are passionately debating important philosophical topics, and regardless of the personal conclusions that each of us draws, the debate can only help to strengthen our understanding of our own faith." This is mere sophistry soph·is·try
n. pl. soph·is·tries
1. Plausible but fallacious argumentation.
2. A plausible but misleading or fallacious argument.
1. obscuring the central fact that The Da Vinci Code (as well as Brown's earlier novel with a similar plot, Angels and Demons Demons
See also devil; evil; ghosts; hell; spirits and spiritualism.
one who denies the existence of the devil or demons.
recognition of the existence of demons and goblins. ) is a novel with a scantily scant·y
adj. scant·i·er, scant·i·est
1. Barely sufficient or adequate.
2. Insufficient, as in extent or degree.
scant disguised cultural and political agenda: to attack the foundations of Christianity and Christian civilization.