Why Not the Da Vinci Code

The best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code undermines the traditional Christian understanding of Jesus and the Bible. The background assumptions of the book are taken mostly from other works that have been proven to be fictional, speculative, fraudulent or pseudo-history.

"BUT THE DAVINCI CODE IS JUST FICTION."

Dan Brown claims (at the start of the novel) that the Da Vinci Code is well-researched and historically accurate, so, it's not 'just fiction'. Brown has stressed the ostensible accuracy of the book on his web site and in interviews.

"WHAT ARE THE MAJOR FLAWS IN THE DA VINCI CODE?"

Its attacks on the Catholic Church and her beliefs about Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Church authority are consistently inaccurate, baseless and even completely contrary to historical fact. It rewrites and misrepresents Church and secular history. It promotes a radical feminist, neo-gnostic agenda with the notion of the "sacred feminine"; an idea that is not so much pro-woman, as it claims to be, but anti-human and anti-Christian. It propagates a relativistic, indifferent attitude towards truth and religion.

"BUT EMPEROR CONSTANTINE INVENTED CHRIST'S DIVINITY AT NICAEA."

Brown never refers to any book of the New Testament nor any of the writings or liturgies of the early Christian Church as he discusses Jesus' identity or what the early Christians believed about Jesus. The Gospels, St Paul's letters and the writings and liturgies from the centuries before the Council of Nicaea (325) give ample evidence that Christian faith was based on a belief that Jesus was the Son of God, and hence God (since the Son shares the same divine nature as the Father). Nicaea actually corrected the heresy of Arianism that denied Jesus' divinity. There is plenty of evidence that the early Christians, dating back to Jesus' time on Earth, believed that Jesus of Nazareth was divine. There is much testimony from numerous Christian writers between 100 A.D. and the 4th century to the Christian belief in Jesus' divinity (eg see the writings of Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr and Ignatius of Antioch).

"BUT THE DA VINCI CODE PROVES THAT JESUS WAS MARRIED."

It does no such thing. It asserts that Jesus must have been married because that was the norm for Jewish men at that time. It asserts that Christ wouldn't have been taken seriously as a teacher unless He was married. But certain Jewish prophets were unmarried, as were the Essenes, as were the likes of St Paul. So, being unmarried would not have been unheard of for a Jewish man totally consumed by dedication to God as Christ was. The Gospels do not describe Jesus as married; instead they describe and name His parents, other family members, and even women who accompanied Him (Lk 8: 2-3). The Gospels describe Jesus' interaction with the people of His hometown. If Jesus had been married, given the frequency with which other relations are mentioned, the marriage would have been mentioned as well. It is illogical for Brown to suppose that a "goddess" like Mary Magdalene would marry a mere "mortal" such as Christ. Finally, there is no credible evidence anywhere that Jesus was married.

THERE ARE MANY MORE ERRORS IN THE BOOK, HERE ARE SOME:

Brown states that Jesus toppled kings but Jesus toppled no kings during His lifetime.

Brown states the Merovingian line of medieval France founded Paris, but Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by Celtic Gauls.

Brown states that the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the 1950s contain information about Jesus, but the Scrolls were discovered in 1947 and do not mention Jesus.

Brown regularly describes incorrectly the content of many of Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings by relying on unfounded speculation. For example, he states that in Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' John the apostle is none other than Mary Magdalene (it was customary at the time of the painting to depict John as young and attractive) and that she is the 'grail' (the chalice of the Last Supper). But there is no chalice in the painting because it describes a scene from the Gospel of John (13: 21-25) in which the institution of the Eucharist is not described, hence no central chalice. Brown also claims that Leonardo's 'Maddona of the Rocks' painting was scandalous because in it, John the Baptist is blessing a kneeling infant Jesus. But, art historians have always understood that it depicts Jesus blessing a kneeling John the Baptist. Constructing his theory on unsubstantiated evidence, Brown presents the Mona Lisa as an androgynous self-portrait. However, based on actual historical data, it's widely believed to be either: a real woman, M[ad]on[n]a Lisa, wife of Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo; or Da Vinci's mother. The name is certainly not (as Brown claims) a mocking anagram of two Egyptian fertility deities. Brown's contention that Da Vinci coded his paintings with anti-Christian messages can't be sustained.

Brown states that Mary Magdalene (who is adored as a goddess by the secret society: 'Priory of Sion') married and had a daughter with Jesus and was intended to be the head of the Church when St Peter seized it from her, setting in motion a conspiracy to demonise her. However, rather than demonising her, the Church honours Mary Magdalene as a saint and there is no real evidence for the blasphemous assertion that she mothered a child of our Lord's. St Mary Magdalene's fictitious daughter has given rise to a fictitious family line that has been murderously suppressed by the evil Catholic Church.

According to Brown, Pope Clement V (widely regarded as a weak, sickly Frenchman manipulated by his king, Philip the Fair) burned some of the Knights Templar in Rome then had their ashes tossed in the Tiber (Rome, Italy), but, in fact, none of the Templars were burned in Rome inasmuch as Clement was the first Pope to reign from Avignon (France) - so much for the ashes in the Tiber!

Brown says the vote at the Council of Nicea regarding the divinity of Christ was a "relatively close vote."But, in reality, only two bishops out of some 250 voted in favour of Arius's position that denied Christ's divinity " over 99% of the bishops upheld the belief that the Son was equal with the Father and of the same substance (ie affirming the constantly held belief of the early Church that Jesus is God).

For Brown to state that the Church "burned five million women" as witches, shows a wilful (and malicious) ignorance of the historical record. The latest figures for deaths during the European witch craze are between 30,000 to 50,000 victims; not all were executed by the Church, not all were women, not all were burned. In fact, as terrible as these executions were, most were not authorised by Catholics or officials of the Church. And Brown is also wrong to claim that midwives were especially targeted.

Brown makes much of the "gnostic gospels" but they aren't gospels at all in the sense of the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John which are filled with concrete details & historical figures). Contrary to Brown, the Gospels were not edited to support the claims of later Christians.

"Even Christianity's weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans" (The Da Vinci Code, 232). This is false. There are many references from the early Church proving Christians always worshipped on Sunday.

Brown says everything in Christianity has been drawn from paganism but there is strong evidence that many of the pagan mystery religions may have taken elements of Christian belief in the 2nd and 3rd centuries to use as their own; they came into existence much too late to influence 1st century Christians.

Contrary to Brown, it was the Church (not Constantine) that formally accepted the Canon of Scripture; being largely set by the 200's (before Constantine's conversion) and finally ratified decades after his death. Brown is also wrong in saying that Constantine was baptised against his wishes.

Brown bases his fictional account of his "original Christ" from "thousands" of texts produced by heretical groups of the 2nd to the 5th centuries but there were not 'thousands' of such texts; there were certainly more than are contained in the Bible but relatively few with any confirmed link to apostolic times. Most scholars (Christian or non-Christian) agree these texts have no value in understanding Jesus.

CONCLUSION

It is ironic that the Da Vinci Code continually advocates distrust of authority yet is so easily trusted by millions of readers. It is indeed strange that such a book bent on criticising religion in general and Christianity in particular is so overtly religious in preaching the gospel of the "sacred feminine"; a belief eclipsing authentic Christian devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

References:
The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel; De-Coding DaVinci: The Facts behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code by Amy Welborn, Our Sunday Visitor, 2004; (www.catholic.com); Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code by Steven Kellmeyer; Envoy Magazine edited by Patrick Madrid; AD 2000, Aug 2004; (Ronald Nash, "Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?" Christian Research Journal, Winter 1994).

* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.