Da Vinci Code Fiction?

After months of research we completed our book "Da Vinci Code – Fact or Fiction" with a CONCLUSION. We believe we looked at the whole fiction / non-fiction discussion fairly.

 

The extent to which a novel attains (and sometimes maintains) cult status is a reflection of the extent to which it resonates in the minds of readers. This remains true whether we are talking about The Da Vinci Code, Miguel Cervantes’ ageless Don Quixote, or A Milne’s delightful tales of Christopher Robin and his animal friends.

 

It is interesting that many people – some devout Christians among them – seem to fear that the Christian Church will fragment if Jesus is finally proved to have been not of entirely divine nature but a great religious teacher who was fully human. But in fact many Christians, including dedicated priests and high officers of the church, question much established Church dogma, and many prominent religious thinkers have done so over the centuries.

 

Far from questioning or reducing the value of the teachings of Jesus, honest enquiry is more likely to strengthen rather than weaken the Church. Jesus wanted to free the Jewish people from both their own sectional dissensions and from unwelcome Roman influences. The Romans were far from displeased at Jewish lack of unity as it was the best possible assurance that no uprising against an occupying force would be successful. The failure of Jewish uprisings simply confirm this.

 

Fighting broke out between bands of Zealots and Romans in Caesarea in 66 AD before spreading to Jerusalem which the Zealots held for four years before the city fell to Flavius Titus, commander of an army sent from Rome. The abortive uprising culminated in the mass suicide in 74 AD of several hundred Jews who held out in the mountain fortress of Masada until they were entirely without the necessities of life.

 

At the end of the hostilities, Jews fled the Holy Land in their thousands to re-establish themselves mainly among their eastern neighbours. It was at this stage that most of the Dead Sea Scrolls appear to have been hidden, never to be retrieved by those who stored them in urns for protection and deposited them in caves in the cliffs of their arid environment.

 

Even stronger dissensions have grown over the centuries into major rifts within Christianity where Christians have persecuted Christians on no stronger grounds than differences in religious dogma. These illogical prejudices have persisted over two millennia and remain violently active in some parts of the world today.

 

Author Dan Brown uses fiction in order to explore ancient religio-historical mysteries that fascinate not only him but most of the Western world. Part of his intention as a writer is to encourage people to think for themselves and to question beliefs that have perhaps gone unquestioned for too long. Plato records that Socrates said that the unexamined life was not worth living. It remains one of the wisest comments ever made.

 

Setting a work of fiction against an historical background, more particularly a powerfully controversial one, enhances the novel and gives tremendous back-up to the story. Many readers are intrigued to the extent where they finish reading the book with so many questions tumbling through their minds that they set off on their own search for further information – for new ideas and tantalising possibilities that lurk behind the telling of the story.

 

In the case of The Da Vinci Code, this can be a thorny path because some readers whose belief systems are different feel a sense of outrage at a novel that they see as undermining the very substance of their most dearly held religious beliefs.

 

Inevitably, some commentaries reflect such views and focus on debunking The Da Vinci Code. But if it were Brown’s intention to proselytise, The Da Vinci Code would not be the international bestseller it is, because most of us have a built-in resistance to a novel that preaches. The prime intention of a novelist is to interest readers into continuing to turn the pages.

 

On the other hand, novels that make us think have a role beyond the telling of a story. If there is one thing that Dan Brown’s fascinating novel does, apart from entertain, it is to awaken a spirit of enquiry.

 

The author of a work of fiction is not presenting himself as the conveyor of ultimate truths. Dan Brown’s between-the-lines message is much closer to: ‘Do yourself a favour and at least think about these things. What is it that you are actually believing in? Could it be that many of us have lost sight of the real message and instead are slaves to the dogma?’

 

In the same vein, the varied ‘stories’ that make up the background of The Da Vinci Code demand enquiry. For readers interested in doing this, there is much enjoyment ahead.

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What Is The Da Vinci Code?

Thought I'd search through my research notes form writing the guide and give Blog readers an idea of "What is the Da Vinci Code".

The Da Vinci Code is written in the context of an unorthodox view – considered heretical by orthodox believers – of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the role played in his life and mission by Mary Magdalene.

In the context of the novel, the Church is seen as responsible for sidelining the true message of Christ and the true facts of his life and supporting instead the Pauline version which was reinforced in 325 AD by the Council of Nicaea, at which time certain dogmas were laid down as ‘fact’. Some of these ‘facts’ have been enlarged on or even omitted with the passing of the centuries.

The author uses Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper to reinforce this context.

In broad terms, he presents the view that:

– Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and the mother of his children.

– Mary’s womb was the Holy Grail, the Holy Vessel which carried the bloodline of Jesus. All other descriptions of the legendary Holy Grail are symbolic.

 

– The bloodline was later carried forward in the Merovingian line of kings, and descendants are alive today.

 

– Jesus is not seen as divine in the sense of being the actual immaculately conceived Son of God, but rather as having the divine spark to be found in all human beings, although in larger measure. He is seen as the bringer of a divine message that enables people to achieve communion with God as he is perceived in many different ways by people on a spiritual path.

 

– Da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper is seen as an encoded message of the real Messianic story.

 

– The Council of Nicaea, organised by the Emperor Constantine in 325 AD, is seen as orchestrated by Constantine for his own political ends. In the resulting Church dogma, the real relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is seen as being finally removed from orthodox Christian records.

 

– The ‘truth’ about Jesus and Mary Magdalene has – according to the novel – been kept alive by a secret society named the Priory of Sion, and a powerful orthodox Catholic order, the Opus Dei is depicted as trying to ensure that this ‘truth’ never emerges.

Dan Brown leans on information gained from non-fiction books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln and on what is presented as confirmation by the Nag Hammadi Codices, but also on reports, opinions and rumours which have emerged in a steady stream from the first century, gathering momentum after Nicaea. Many of these ‘heresies’ and enquiries were written by serious thinkers.

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32 Most Asked Da Vinci Code Questions Answered

As I turned the last page of the The Da Vinci Code I was both satisfied and unsatisfied. This brilliant book took my mind on a journey that excited and riveted my imagination.

So many thoughts raced through my head as I ploughed through page by page… often hours at a time.

Learn about Leonardo Da Vinci and his painting’s secrets

Whilst at first it sounds strange that a man who is arguably one of the most brilliant minds that has ever existed, was involved in an underground society… the truth about the artists of the renaissance period and how they communicated, will open your eyes to a whole new level of genius.

Answered… the Questions about the Da Vinci Code
That You Asked For!

The reason for me creating my brand new book was selfishly for my own benefit, as I wanted to know the answers to these age old questions. Then it dawned on me… that I am not the only one searching for answers, so I was inspired in this quest to help others find the answers to their own questions in this area.

And that is why, it’s not like any other book you’ve ever read on the factual history behind the Da Vinci Code.

Why?

Simply, every section in the book is there because “you asked for it.” Well, not “you” really. But from real live questions. Questions from people who loved the Da Vinci Code and wanted the answers to the pressing questions it created. A simple webpage was set up, and people like you visited it and left me their most pressing questions on ‘the questions you wanted answers to after reading the International Best Selling book.’

Then I got them answered for you!

Which means no fluff. Just the real answers you want to know.

Here are the Answers!


  • Bishops take on ‘Da Vinci Code’ in the Philippines

    The Philippine Crusade for the Defense of Christian Civilization, Inc., has sent a letter to each of the Philippine Catholic bishops, asking them to publicly support a boycott of the film.

    The following is the (unedited) general template used by the crusade to write to the Philippine bishops:

    Your Excellency,

    On behalf of The Philippine Crusade for the Defense of Christian Civilization, Inc., a civic and cultural organization of lay Catholics, I write this letter confident that you have heard or read about Dan Brown’s bestselling yet controversial book “The Da Vinci Code.” A movie based on the purported historical fiction is now set for worldwide release sometime in May of this year.

    As faithful Catholics, we are concerned about the scandalous and sacrilegious manner in which Our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Mary Magdalene and the Catholic Church are portrayed in the book. We believe the movie wouldn’t be any different.

    While apologists for the book or movie pass it off as mere fiction, we cannot remain naïve and complacent about the possible harmful effects it would have on the average Catholic reader or moviegoer. False conclusions based on shoddy fictional premises can and often do deceive many of those of weak faith to accept and believe as true what they would normally take for as ridiculous or nonsense.

    To dispute those who claim protesting only generates publicity, we argue that the promoters of these productions fear the negative publicity generated by these protests since it translates to poor ticket sales at the box office.

    In face of this scurrilous attack on the sacred person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is our privilege to present Your Excellency a copy of Rejecting the Da Vinci Code: How a Blasphemous Novel Brutally Attacks Our Lord and the Catholic Church, published by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP — http://www.tfp.org). The book aims to increase public awareness and refutes the malicious lies and distortions being perpetrated by Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.”

    I have also enclosed copies of articles assailing the literary and historical merit or lack thereof of “The Da Vinci Code” which I hope would be of use to you. [These were copies of your article and an article on the statement of the US Catholic Bishops.]

    Knowing Your Excellency’s compelling duty to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful as a successor of the Apostles, we respectfully entreaty Your Excellency to voice out firm opposition and condemnation of the Da Vinci Code movie. We count on you to support our initiative as well as encourage the movie’s boycott among the Catholic faithful.

    With this formidable task of going against worldwide public opinion, we hope to show the rest of the world that Filipino Catholics would stand up to defend the honor of the God-Man, that most singular Personage in all of history, the holy founder of Christianity, whom we call Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    In closing, we kneel and kiss Your Excellency’s pastoral ring as we ask for your prayers and blessing.

    Faithfully yours,

    Dr. Jose Maria P. Alcasid
    President
    The Philippine Crusade for the Defense of Christian Civilization, Inc.

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    Dan Brown no more a Plagarist than Shakespeare!

    There’s no more plagiarism in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code than there is in Shakespeare’s King Lear,” said Dan Burstein, editor of the bestselling book, SECRETS OF THE CODE: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code.

    Burstein was reacting to the recent headline-making news from a court case in London where Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, stands accused of plagiarism by two writers of the 1982 bestseller, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

    “Perhaps no one in the world has studied the issue of the source materials for The Da Vinci Code as closely as our team of writers and editors in the ‘Secrets’ series,” continued Burstein. “I can say with confidence that, while we found Holy Blood, Holy Grail to be very important to The Da Vinci Code, it was far from being the only book with that distinction: dozens of other books, authors, and ideas were clearly critically important as well. Indeed, the very purpose of SECRETS OF THE CODE from its inception was to introduce the reader to the cornucopia of controversial and compelling ideas from a broad range of books and other sources that Dan Brown had obviously read, digested, and used in the storyline of his work of fiction in his own way.”

    Burstein continued, “Shakespeare did the same thing-he borrowed the plot of King Lear and numerous other plays from prior plays. But then he added his proprietary Shakespearean touch, which made all the difference.”

    SECRETS OF THE CODE lets readers explore for themselves what is fact and what is fiction in The Da Vinci Code, both the book as well as the forthcoming movie. SECRETS OF THE CODE has just been released in a new and updated paperback edition with significant new content. CDS Books, an imprint of the Perseus Books Group, announced today a first printing of half a million copies of Burstein’s book, which has come to be known as the world’s leading guidebook for understanding The Da Vinci Code phenomenon.

    “The courtroom drama over the intellectual property at the heart of The Da Vinci Code is not really a battle over plagiarism,” said the award-winning author Dan Burstein. “Instead, it is a battle over the collective heritage of western civilization. These myths, legends, Jungian archetypes, alternative histories, and cosmological theories belong to all writers, to do what they will with them in fiction or nonfiction.”

    SECRETS OF THE CODE was a New York Times nonfiction bestseller for five months when it was first published in hardcover and has been a bestseller in many of its 30 international editions as well. SECRETS OF THE CODE is a must-read for anyone interested in the plagiarism trial of Dan Brown or in the deeper, broader discussion of The Da Vinci Code-the novel, the upcoming movie, and the entire phenomenon that has so captivated Americans and people all over the world.

    “In editing SECRETS OF THE CODE three years ago, long before the allegations of plagiarism surfaced, our editorial team sought out all the books Dan Brown might have used in his research, and licensed the right to present excerpts from many of them in our book,” Burstein observed. “We included an excerpt from Holy Blood, Holy Grail in SECRETS OF THE CODE because it was obviously one of the key books Brown relied upon.”

    Holy Blood, Holy Grail isn’t the only fascinating or controversial take on the so-called “Holy Bloodline” or other key elements of the plot of The Da Vinci Code. Far from it. SECRETS OF THE CODE follows Dan Brown’s research into other works and authors that obviously influenced him as well, including Lynn Picknett’s The Templar Revelation, Margaret Starbird’s The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels and The Nag Hammadi Library edited by James Robinson.

    In addition to excerpts from Holy Blood, Holy Grail and all the other key books used by Dan Brown in creating The Da Vinci Code, the new edition of SECRETS OF THE CODE features numerous chapters that will be of special interest to anyone following the London courtroom controversy. These include an extensive interview with Lewis Perdue, an American novelist who charged Dan Brown with plagiarism in an earlier court battle; essays about the hoaxes at the heart of the “Priory of Sion” and Rennes-le-Chateau legends; the 30 books of critical importance to understanding The Da Vinci Code; and a path-breaking 20,000-word biography of novelist Brown, written by the “Secrets” team’s investigative reporter, David A. Shugarts.

    DAN BURSTEIN is the creator of the “Secrets” series, which, in addition to SECRETS OF THE CODE, includes Secrets of Angels & Demons, Secrets of the Widow’s Son, and Secrets of Mary Magdalene (to be published in October 2006), now has three million books in print worldwide. Edited by Burstein and business partner Arne de Keijzer, the “Secrets” books have been best-sellers in almost every major global publishing market. They have also been the basis for special collector’s issues of US News & World Report. SECRETS OF THE CODE is currently in production as a feature film documentary, directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jonathan Stack. A two-hour documentary, Secrets of Angels, Demons & Masons, is available currently on DVD. Burstein is a much sought-out expert on the issues relating to The Da Vinci Code and has appeared on numerous television specials from the History Channel’s “Beyond the Da Vinci Code,” to Inside Edition and MSNBC.

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    Da Vinci Code Author Jams with Dreadnaught

    There’s a little bit of rock star in all of us, even those multi-million-selling best seller authors like Dan Brown.

    Brown will step aside from the hoopla that’s surrounded his latest novel, The Da Vinci Code to take the stage with Dreadnaught at Music Hall in Portsmouth, N.H. April 23. The collaboration is one part of the Writers On A New England Stage series which places authors in front of Dreadnaught to get their rock’n’roll fun.

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    Da Vinci Code leads to Religious Publishing Boom

    A wave of religious books is coming to bookstores to cash in on The Da Vinci Code movie in May, including a book saying Jesus survived crucifixion and an Evangelical novel with a modern-day Mary Magdalene heroine.

    Americans are finally able to buy Dan Brown's best seller in paperback yesterday, three years after it was first published, and with Da Vinci Code fever as strong as ever, it's never been so profitable to write about Christianity.

    After Brown's book sold 40 million copies worldwide, books that once might have been released in a limited print run will be stacked at the front of bookstores this spring.

    Even Michael Baigent, who sued Brown in a London court this month for plagiarism, is riding on the "Code's" coattails, publishing his latest book, The Jesus Papers, yesterday.

    Baigent's previous book examined the controversial idea Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and had children — a key plot element in The Da Vinci Code. His new book suggests Jesus did not die on the cross and lived on for years.

    The new batch of Da Vinci Code spin-offs comes ahead of the May 19 release of the movie starring Tom Hanks.

    Ehud Sperling, publisher of Inner Traditions, already owes a lot to Brown, who credited several of the publisher's books as sources, fuelling a jump in sales for unlikely titles.


     

    The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, one of the so-called Gnostic Gospels not included in the New Testament, has sold more than 100,000 copies. "That's amazing for a translation from the Coptic," said Sperling, who has several new releases.


    Evangelical Christian publisher Tyndale wants to do more than sell books — it aims to defend the faith. It has created a campaign titled "Da Vinci Didn't Convince Me" aimed at some 2,300 stores in the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA).

    "The church needs to equip itself to answer the questions that this movie will raise," said Les Dietzman of CBA member Berean Christian Stores, an Ohio-based chain of 17 bookstores.

    Erwin Lutzer's The Da Vinci Deception has sold some 300,000 copies. He likened the movie to a "spiritual tsunami."

    "The Da Vinci Code is the most serious assault against Christianity that I have ever witnessed," Lutzer said.

    Lutzer, an Evangelical minister in Chicago, has prepared discussion packs for churches in the Tyndale package.

    "The majority of people in our churches are going to see the movie and we're not telling them not to," he said, adding that he plans to see it so as to be able to discuss it.

    Karen Kingsbury, a Christian fiction writer whose books have sold more than 4 million copies, has written a new book called Divine, a parable about a modern Magdalene figure.

    "There's different ways you can go after reading The Da Vinci Code. You can just take it as entertainment and walk away or you may say 'I need to learn more about the history."

    "But maybe even bigger is going to be that our society has a very strong curiosity about Mary Magdalene," Kingsbury said.

    Amy Welborn, the Catholic author of De-Coding Da Vinci who has written a new book about Magdalene, says she is wary of giving credence to a work of fiction by protesting too much.

    "What The Da Vinci Code says about Jesus and Mary Magdalene is silly," she said.

    On the more academic side, Oxford University Press is publishing Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene, by Bart Ehrman.

    Ehrman, author of the 2004 book Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, said most such books were by Evangelical Christians or Catholics worried about defending the faith.

    "That wasn't my concern at all. I'm just interested in the historical issues that The Da Vinci Code raised."

    Still he may be popular among such Christians because he says there is no evidence for the marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and he dismisses the more controversial theories put forward by Baigent and others.

    "There's not a single scholar on the face of the Earth who buys any of it," Ehrman said.