The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Da Vinci CodeI probably should have read The Da Vinci Code before I saw the movie or, at least, before I watched “Angels and Demons” because I remembered quite a lot about this story, including the ending. That said, Dan Brown’s controversial novel certainly does take you for a wild ride; The Da Vinci Code is fast-paced, interesting, and still retained traces of its thriller/mystery persona even after my memory recalled ever little detail.

The Da Vinci Code deals with the Holy Grail, which Dan Brown’s novel says is not a cup but rather Jesus’ wife, Mary Magdalena. I know this topic is highly controversial for some, especially Catholics, and many have condemned the novel based solely on that premise. Even my own church and Sunday School, which at the time was lead by my father, jumped on the band wagon and began basing sermons and lessons around the novel and whether or not The Da Vinci Code is rooted in truth or not.

“Moreover, Jesus as a married man makes infinitely more sense than our standard biblical view of Jesus as a bachelor…Because Jesus was a Jew,” Langdon said, taking over while Teabing searched for his book, “and the social decorum during that time virtually forbid a Jewish man to be unmarried. According to Jewish custom, celibacy was condemned, and the obligation for a Jewish father was to find a suitable wife for his son. If Jesus were not married, at least one of the Bible’s gospels would have mentioned it and offered some explanation for His unnatural state of bachelorhood.” (pg. 245)

And some of it is true. The Catholic Church’s subjection and condemnation of women is true. The fact that Da Vinci “stuck it to the man” with several of his Church commissioned paintings is true.

“The Catholic Inquisition published the book that arguably could be called the most blood-soaked publication in human history. Malleus Maleficarum — or The Witches’ Hammer — indoctrinated the world to “the dangers of freethinking women” and instructed the clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy them. Those deemed “witches” by the Church included all female scholars, priestesses, gypsies mystics, nature lovers, herb gathers, and any woman “suspiciously attuned to the natural world.” Midwives also were killed for their heretical practices of using medical knowledge to ease the pain of childbirth — a suffering, the Church claimed, that was God’s rightful punishment for Eve’s partaking of the Apple of Knowledge, thus giving birth to the idea of Original Sin. During three hundred years of witch hunts, the Church burned at the stake an astounding five million women.” (pg. 125)

The fact that God did not literally — meaning with a pen, paper, and his own hand — write the Bible is true. The fact that Gospels and books were chosen for the Bible by man is true.

“My dear,” Teabing declared, “until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”

“Not the Son of God?”

“Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.”

“Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?”

“A relatively close vote at that.” (pg. 233)

It is my belief that The Da Vinci Code is fantastic book that takes one on an equally fantastic and clever ride throughout history. Suspend disbelief and enjoy. Don’t suspend disbelief and you’ll condemn it for making you question. Faith is exactly that — faith. A fictional novel — and last I checked, my library still shelves it in the fiction section — shouldn’t change that.

Book Mentioned:

  • Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. New York: Anchor, 2006. Print. 454 pgs. ISBN: 9780307277671. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Anchor Books. Retrieved: June 10, 2009.
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2 thoughts on “The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

  1. I thought this was a really fun read plot-wise when I read it, and I think it’s great if it gets people discussing religious beliefs and ideas that they otherwise might not have. But, as you say, this book shouldn’t be taken as non-fiction, nor should people be basing arguments against religion on this novel either. If it spurs people on to read some actual scholarly work on the topic, then I think Dan Brown has done something great. And if it just entertains people on the beach for a couple of hours, then that’s cool too. I just wish the actual writing were better, because the story was fun, but the prose? Terrible!

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  2. @ Steph: I didn’t even notice the prose; I was so wrapped up in the story. As much as I value good writing, I do enjoy finding a novel I can just read. It’s always fun to find that novel that sucks you in and keeps you wanting more regardless of writing problems.

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