The Da Vinci Code
Separating fact from Fiction
By this Definition, the da Vinci Code would need to develop its plot with historical integrity. When challenged on his facts, the author cannot rightfully say, “its only a novel.” Such positioning places the reader in a schizophrenic world of fact and fiction.
Dan brown writes an “ alternative history” without giving the reader the ability to see where his facts begin and end. Literary scholars see the difference; the average reader may not.
Let’s look at how the “what if” history of the Da Vinci Code plays out with elements that are alleged to be factual.
The significance of the Priority of Sion is bolstered in the plotline of the Da Vinci Code by claiming a little-known connection with such geniuses as Leonardo Da Vinci and Isaac Newton.
Dan Brown’s main characters- Robert Langdon, Sopie Neveu, and Leigh Teabing- are experts at deciphering codes and interpreting symbols. This is one of the most compelling aspects of the novel. The book accurately points out that Leonardo was known to have used reverse text (which could be read with a mirror) for some of his “progressive theories on astronomy, geology, archaeology, and hydrology” (p.300). Yet, his “secrets” were probably more scientific than religious. Leonardo was among the Renaissance scientists who had to be careful not to raise suspicion that their theories were challenging established church doctrine on creation.
Brown, however, used the fact of Da Vinci’s reverse –style scientific essays to suggest that Leonardo also left clues in his artwork about secret religious beliefs, which if known would have changed the public’s acceptance of his work. In the Da Vinci Code, the great artist is portrayed as a goddess worshiper who left clues in his artwork to let us know that his views of Christ were not in line with the teachings of the church.
But how believable is this claim? Art critics who have no interest in defending the church have rejected the notion. Authorities in the art world believe that the “hidden clues” to Leonard’s secrets faith exist only in the imagination of those looking to make a conspiracy theory plausible (see: Bruce Boucher, “does the Da Vinci Code Crack Leonardo?” the New York Times, 8/03/03: Sian Gibby, “Mrs. God.” Slate, 11/3/03).
Such Guide lines help us to see some of the many reasons that the credibility of the New Testament has stood the rest of time. The Nag hammadi documents (Gnostic gospels) by comparison, were written about 100 to 200 years after the life of Jesus. Being later in time and lacking connection to those who knew Christ, they reflect Gnostic doctrines of the second and third centuries rather than a first-centaury record of witnesses.
By contrast, the New Testament gives us eye witness accounts, with more copies, closer to the event than any other document from the first century.
Small portions like the Chester Beatty and john Ryland Papyri fragments bring scholars back to within 40 years of the writing of the gospel of John (F.F Bruce, the new Testament Documents- are they reliable? Pp.17-18) likewise, F.F Bruce in his book Jesus and Christian Origins outside The New Testament shows how historians have used other early documents to confirm the reliability of New Testament accounts.
Dan Brown attempts to tie his “secret knowledge” to early Judaism with this shocking statement:
“Admittedly, the concept of sex as a pathway to God was mind –boggling at first. Langdon’s Jewish students always looked flabbergasted when he first told them that the early Jewish tradition involved ritualistic sex. In the Temple, no less. Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Soloman’s Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah…… the Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH- the sacred name of God- is in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the Pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Hava (p.309).
Such concepts sound scholarly when spoken by a fictional Harvard Professor of symbology. They can also be misleading when they come from the pen of someone who is trying to rewrite history to claim that God is pleased by the pagan practices of ancient fertility cults. This is another instance, however, where the facts are difference.
By contrast, Brown uses his own assumptions to make unjustified claims about Hebrew word meanings and origins. The reader is asked to accept the words of Roberts Langdon, a fictitious authority in the field, who tries to tie the worship of Israel to the ancient fertility cults characteristic of Israel’s neighbors.
The Da Vinci Code contradicts the combined witness of the Hebrew Scriptures. What about the New Testament? Does it give a picture of continuity with the Old Testament? Together, the writings of Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude combine with the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to cite multiple sources from the Old Testament to support their view of Christ. They build on the testimony of Jewish prophets who anticipated a coming Deliverer who would be born of a virgin (Isa.7:14; Mt. 1:18-,24-25). This Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic.5:2; Lk. 2:4-7). Although a king, He would enter Jerusalem humbly on a donkey (Zech.9:9; Mt. 21:6-11). Even the piercing and death of messiah were foretold centuries before the invention of crucifixion as a form of execution (Isa.53; Zech.12:10; Mt. 27)and the Messiah triumphing over death in resurrection was foretold (Ps.16:10; Isa. 53:10: Acts 2:31). These fulfillments of messianic predictions are only part of a much wider range of other elements of continuity also fulfilled by the unique person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Ancient documents including but not restricted to the New Testament accounts tell the story of witnesses who saw the Old Testament Scriptures fulfilled in Christ and who were willing to suffer and die for what they saw in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. These witnesses lived and died in spite of the power of Rome, not because of it. For most of the years preceding Constantine they were a hated and persecuted people (I cor.1:26-31). Followers of Christ were the outcasts of society. They were the poor and powerless witnesses of the history of Christ, not “the winners,” as alleged by brown.
The Da Vinci code
1 what is the central premise of the Da vinci asserts that ‘almost every thing our Father taught us about Christ is false.’ It claims that:
- The catholic church has kept the true fact about Christianity hidden through force of terror
- Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene ( who was the head apostle)
- Jesus was not the son of God
- He was a mortal prophet – a great and powerful man of staggering influence who inspired millions to better lives
- The pagan emperor Constantine proposed a motion upgrade Jesus to a deity at the council of Nicaea in 325AD
In 112 AD, the roman governor Pliny records that ‘Christians were in the habit of meeting regularly before dawn on a fixed date to chant verse alternately among them selves in honour Christ as to a God.’ It is clear that the early church worshiped Jesus as God from the earliest days.
Further, numerous church fathers speak of the divinity of Christ. For example
- Ignatius (CA 50 – CA 117) ‘ our God, Jesus Christ’
- Justin Martyr (CA 100 – CA165) ‘He was god’
- Melito of Sardis (died CA 190) ‘Being God and Like wise perfect man’
- Irenaeus (CA130 – CA 200) ‘He is the holy Lord, The wonderful Counselor ….and the Might God.
- Clement of Alexandria (CA 150 – CA 215) ‘He alone is both God and man.’
- Teryullian (CA 160 – CA 225) ‘for Christ is also God.’
The council was probably attended by 220-250 bishops. The Arian creed was rejected and they produced the Nicene Creed with four anti- Arian anathemas attached. This was accepted by all but two of the bishops, that is, over 99per cent were in favour. They declared that Jesus was the Son of God, ‘begotten not made, of the same substance (homousios) as the Father.’