Da Vinci Code Facts Vs Fiction
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Da Vinci Code Facts Vs Fiction

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Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" erroneously presents false information as facts. This presentation clearly contrasts the historical facts with the fantasy that Dan Brown claims to be factual.

Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" erroneously presents false information as facts. This presentation clearly contrasts the historical facts with the fantasy that Dan Brown claims to be factual.

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Da Vinci Code Facts Vs Fiction Da Vinci Code Facts Vs Fiction Presentation Transcript

  • The Da Vinci Code Facts v/s Fiction
  • Contents
    • About... The Da Vinci Code
    • Why check the “Facts”???
      • Uncertain Claims
    • Leonardo da Vinci
      • The Mona Lisa
      • The Last Supper
    • The Dead Sea Scrolls
    • Nag Hammadi , the Gnostic Gospels
    • The New Testament
    • Was Jesus married?
    • Mary Magdalene in Ancient Texts
    • The Divinity of Jesus
    • The Council of Nicea
    • Constantine the Great
    • The Priory of Sion
    • The Da Vinci Code’s attitude towards the Church
    • Different Reactions & how to respond to them
    • References
  • About... The Da Vinci Code
    • The Da Vinci Code is a novel written by American author Dan Brown and first published in 2003. The movie, directed by Ron Howard was released in 2006.
    • The storyline in summary:
    • Jacques Saunière, the curator of the Louvre Museum in Paris is murdered. A number of mysterious clues, codes, and ciphers are found.
    • Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, is summoned to help solve the mysterious murder. His investigation brings him together with French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu.
    go to Contents...
    • Together, Langdon and Neveu embark on a high-paced, danger-around-every-corner adventure to discover the dead curator’s prior involvement in a secret society known as the Priory of Sion.
    • The society’s historical members include the famous artist, Leonardo da Vinci -- thus the name of the Dan Brown novel and Ron Howard film.
    • The murder investigation ultimately becomes a quest by Langdon and Neveu to uncover an ancient conspiracy about a well-known religious relic -- the Holy Grail of Jesus Christ.
    • It turns out that the Priory of Sion has spent centuries protecting the “truth” about Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Church.
    • The quest is to discover that “truth” hidden from the public since the time of Christ.
    go to Contents...
    • According to the novel, the secrets of the Holy Grail, as kept by the Priory of Sion, are as follows:
      • The Holy Grail is not a physical chalice, but a woman, namely Mary Magdalene, who helped to carry the bloodline of Christ into the following ages.
      • Mary Magdalene was of royal descent (through the Jewish House of Benjamin) and was the wife of Jesus, of the House of David.
      • That she was a prostitute was a slander invented by the Catholic Church to obscure their true relationship.
      • At the time of the Crucifixion, she was pregnant. After the Crucifixion, she fled to Gaul, where she was sheltered by the Jews of Marseilles.
      • She gave birth to a daughter, named Sarah. The bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene became the Merovingian dynasty of France.
    go to Contents...
      • The French expression for the Holy Grail, San gréal , actually is a play on Sang réal , which literally means "royal blood".
      • The Grail relics consist of the documents that testify to the bloodline, as well as the actual bones of Mary Magdalene.
      • Sophie Neveu and her brother are descendants of the original bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (their last name was changed to hide their ancestry).
      • The existence of the bloodline was the secret that was contained in the documents discovered by the Crusaders after they conquered Jerusalem in 1099. The Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar were organized to keep the secret.
    go to Contents...
  • Why check the “Facts”???
    • Because of the extraordinary  popularity  of  The Da Vinci Code . Millions of people have seen the film or read the book, which means it will have a much greater impact than most books or movies.
    • Because of Dan Brown's  deliberate presentation  of the novel as a fictional narrative based on historical fact:
      • "FACT:   All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
    • Because of the undeniable " interestingness " of claims made throughout the novel. Most people are fascinated by some of the things mentioned (Leonardo, symbols, Tarot cards, the historical Jesus, the Louvre pyramid...) and want to learn more
    go to Contents...
  • Uncertain Claims
    • "FACT:   All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
    • There are many claims found within the pages of Dan Brown's bestselling novel  The Da Vinci Code , but the above claim is easily the most controversial — because it just isn't true.
    • Even leaving the speculative theories aside, many "descriptions" of art, documents and rituals are simply inaccurate.
    • The "FACT" statement therefore creates a false sense of trust in what the novel's authoritative characters have to say about history, art and religion.
    go to Contents...
    • The great artist  Leonardo da Vinci  gives his name to the novel  The Da Vinci Code  and his art and beliefs are central to the story.
    • Was he really a homosexual and a heretic?
    • Did he hide symbols in his paintings and notebooks?
    Leonardo da Vinci go to Contents...
  • go to Contents... In Reality Leonardo was probably a homosexual (but not "flamboyant" - that would have gotten him killed) and no great fan of the Church, and he did invent some violent machines (because they made money). But he fulfilled only  one  Vatican commission and there is no evidence for heretical beliefs, pagan symbols in his art, exhumation of corpses (though he did probably dissect them) or alchemy. Many of these accusations date from an account in 1550 by Giorgio Vasari. The book was revised 18 years later with all the accusations removed, but the original description of Leonardo remains influential to the present day. In The Da Vinci Code Leonardo da Vinci was a flamboyant homosexual and goddess worshipper who exhumed corpses, studied alchemy and elixirs of immortality, invented horrific war and torture instruments, and fulfilled hundreds of Vatican commissions in which he hid pagan symbols. (Ch. 8)
    • We know he was born to an unmarried couple, Caterina and Ser Piero da Vinci, whose family took in the new child. Documentation exists for Leonardo’s acceptance into his father’s family and his baptism in the presence of 10 witnesses.
    • The young Leonardo showed early and proficient skills in art and mathematics. He entered into apprenticeship in the studio of the Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio, and the rest, as they say, is art history.
    • Kenneth Clark, an art historian, advises that while  not "a religious-minded man ," Leonardo "seems to associate himself with the  precursors of the Reformation ." Leonardo objected to the commercial exploitation of relics, religious art, and pious items, saying, "I see Christ once more being sold and crucified and his saints martyred."
    • In his notebooks and letters, he protested the sale of indulgences, liturgical and ceremonial pomp, obligatory confessions, and the cult of the saints. He assailed the clergy—at all levels—for their lack of morality, values, and education. As a scientist, he  questioned  the contemporary reality of miracles performed by priests and monks.
    • In his  paintings , Leonardo expressed what might be termed his " reformist " ideas. He removed haloes; dispensed with the inclusion of gold, azure, and other expensive colors; avoided elaborate costumes for Mary and the (arch)angels; and presented visual meditations on the meaning of Jesus as the Christ and of Mary as mother.
    • He found proof for the existence and omnipotence of God in nature—light, color, botany, the human body—and in creativity.
    go to Contents...
    • Leonardo Da Vinci's  Mona Lisa  has long been the subject of speculation regarding both the lady's identity and the meaning of her enigmatic smile.
    • Dan Brown plays on this mystery in  The Da Vinci Code , where the main characters point out symbols of the sacred feminine in the portrait.
    The Mona Lisa &  The Da Vinci Code go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • Mostly true.  The Mona Lisa was indeed stolen in 1911. A major investigation was launched and there was a major public outcry. However, many also had fun with it: and cartoons and silly songs were written about the theft. The painting was found in a trunk in Florence, when the thief tried to sell it. It had been hidden in Paris until then. There is no evidence for the previous theft that Brown mentions.
    • Probably . We do know he did not give it to the person who commissioned it, and it was one of three paintings Leonardo had with him in France.
    • False.  This cannot be so, since the title "Mona Lisa" both post-dates Leonardo and is used mainly by English speakers. ( Italians call it  La Gioconda ; the French call it  La Joconde ). We do not know what Leonardo himself named the portrait.
    • Highly unlikely . There is no evidence for this.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • The  Mona Lisa  has been  stolen  twice, most recently in 1911 - it was found 2 years later in a trunk in Florence. There was weeping in the streets.
    • Leonardo considered the  Mona Lisa  his best work and  carried it with him everywhere he went.
    • "Mona Lisa" is an anagram of  Amon L'Isa  - a combination of the Egyptian god and goddess of fertility - which is a clue to its symbolic meaning.
    • The  Mona Lisa  is a symbol of the sacred feminine  and the balance between the sexes.
    • Leonardo's Last Supper (1495–98) is among the most famous paintings in the world. In its monumental simplicity, the composition of the scene is masterful; the power of its effect comes from the striking contrast in the attitudes of the 12 disciples as counterposed to Christ.
    • Leonardo portrayed a moment of high tension when, surrounded by the Apostles as they share Passover, Jesus says, “One of you will betray me.” All the Apostles—as human beings who do not understand what is about to occur—are agitated, whereas Christ alone, conscious of his divine mission, sits in lonely, transfigured serenity.
    • Only one other being shares the secret knowledge: Judas, who is both part of and yet excluded from the movement of his companions. In this isolation he becomes the second lonely figure—the guilty one—of the company.
    The Last Supper  &  The Da Vinci Code go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • This is not all that strange - other depictions of the Last Supper have shown each disciple with a cup rather than the traditional "chalice."
    • Art historians disagree. They say it is John the Evangelist, who was "the beloved disciple" and often portrayed with feminine features.
    • The painting was recently restored, but Brown's dates aren't quite right. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica , "not until the most modern restoration techniques were applied after World War II was the process of decay halted. A major restoration campaign begun in 1980 and completed in 1999 restored the work to brilliance but also revealed that very little of the original paint remains."
    • Neither provable nor disprovable - 'M's and 'V's are easy to find in many paintings. The positioning of the figures in the painting are more about dramatic movement and aesthetic composition: the characters are grouped into threes.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • The  Last Supper  shows 13 cups but no chalice: therefore, "oddly, Da Vinci appears to have forgotten to paint the Cup of Christ."
    • The person seated next to Christ in Leonardo's  Last Supper  is clearly a woman. This is based on the figure's "flowing red hair, delicate folded hands and the hint of a bosom."
    • The Last Supper  was thoroughly restored in 1954, revealing more details.
    • The positioning of Christ and "Mary" in The Last Supper purposely form a 'V' (representing the chalice or womb) and an 'M' (for Mary).
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls &  The Da Vinci Code
    • Dead Sea Scrolls , ancient, mostly Hebrew, manuscripts (of leather, papyrus, and copper) first found in 1947 on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is among the more important finds in the history of modern archaeology.
    • Study of the scrolls has enabled scholars to push back the date of a stabilized Hebrew Bible to no later than AD 70, to help reconstruct the history of Palestine from the 4th century BC to AD 135, and to cast new light on the emergence of Christianity and of rabbinic Judaism and on the relationship between early Christian and Jewish religious traditions.
    • The Dead Sea Scrolls come from various sites and date from the  3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD . The term usually refers more specifically to manuscripts found in 11 caves near the ruins of Qumran, which most scholars think was the home of the community that owned the scrolls. The relevant period of occupation of this site runs from c. 100 BC to c. AD 68, and the scrolls themselves nearly all date from the 3rd to the 1st century BC. 
    go to Contents...
  • go to Contents... In Reality Virtually all of these claims are false, primarily because the Dead Sea Scrolls are  not early Christian records . They are completely Jewish and they do not mention Jesus even once. Thus they do not "speak of Christ's ministry in very human terms," nor is it "troubling" that they don't match up with the biblical gospels. Brown also gets his dates wrong with regard to the Dead Sea Scrolls: they were found in  1947 , not the 1950s. But he is right that they were found in Qumran. The mistake probably comes from the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls  do  shed light on the historical Jesus, but  indirectly . The Scrolls were written by Jews around the time of Jesus, and therefore tell us a great deal about the context in which Jesus lived and taught. The Dead Sea Scrolls also contain the earliest copies of many Old Testament books - centuries earlier than any we had before - and they provide valuable information on an ancient Jewish sect, the Essenes.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • "Fortunately for historians, some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judaean desert." (ch. 55)
    • "...In addition to telling the true Grail story, these documents speak of Christ's ministry in very human terms." (ch. 55)
    • "Of course, the Vatican, in keeping with their tradition of misinformation, tried very hard to suppress the release of these scrolls. And why wouldn't they?"
    • "The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda - to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base."
    • "[The Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi:] The earliest Christian records. Troublingly, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible."  
  • Nag Hammadi; the Gnostic Gospels & The Da Vinci Code
    • The Nag Hammadi documents, though early, are probably all  later than the New Testament gospels . One possible exception is the  Gospel of Thomas . It was probably originally written around 140 AD, but some scholars think it records traditions dating from the  1st century .
    • The manuscripts themselves date from about  350-400 AD . This is based on the datable papyrus used to thicken the leather bindings and the Coptic script. But these codices are believed to be Coptic translations of Greek texts, so the original texts would be significantly  earlier .
    go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • False - quite the opposite.  The Nag Hammadi writings (not scrolls but books) portray a very mystical Christ with little historical narrative context.
    • False.  The Nag Hammadi writings are ancient, but most scholars think they are later than the biblical gospels - most from the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • The Nag Hammadi scrolls speak of Christ's ministry in  very human terms . (ch. 55)
    • The Nag Hammadi  Scrolls  are "the earliest Christian records ." (ch. 58)
  • The New Testament & The Da Vinci Code
    • The idea of having Christian scriptures in addition to the Jewish ones (the "Old Testament") seems to date from the  New Testament period  itself. Here Jesus' teachings (1 Tim 5:18, quoted Jesus as Luke 10:7) and the letters of Paul (2 Pet 3:16) are already referred to as "scriptures."
    • After this early period, many books were produced by many different Christian and pseudo-Christian groups. Books were included or excluded based on  four main criteria :
      • 1. they had to be ancient,
      • 2. apostolic (associated with an apostle),
      • 3. have widespread acceptance,
      • 4. contain orthodox teachings. 
    Armenian illuminated Gospel of John (1310)   P52, the oldest New Testament fragment (c.120) the Nag Hammadi Library Coptic manuscript of Mark 6 go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • True.  It took centuries for the New Testament to develop into the form that we know it today. Some books were accepted from the start, while others were added or subtracted later. And the books have been copied and translated many times.
    • False.  Most, if not all, of Jesus' followers were illiterate. The first records of Jesus' life were written down after his death.
    • False.  There were never that many in circulation - more like a dozen or so. And it doesn't appear than any gospels other than the final four were ever considered.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • The Bible  "did not arrive by fax from heaven" but is a human record that has evolved through countless translations, additions and revisions. (ch. 55)
    • Jesus' life was " recorded by thousands  of followers across the land." (ch. 55)
    • More than  80 gospels  were considered for inclusion in the New Testament. (ch. 55)
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • False.  The Bible was "collated" over several centuries, and the process was not even finished during Constantine's lifetime. He had nothing to do with the process. This claim may be rooted in the fact that Constantine requested several  copies  of the existing Bible for new churches in Constantinople.
    • False , as described above. And this claim doesn't make sense, since the biblical gospels portray Jesus as very human, much more so than the "rejected" gospels.
    • False.  "The Q document is not a source written by Jesus; it is a hypothetical document that scholars believe once contained sayings of Jesus, written about 20 years after his death, and used as a source for their gospels by Matthew and Luke."
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • The Bible was collated by  Constantine the Great.  (ch. 55)
    • To cement the new idea of Jesus as divine, Constantine developed  a new Bible  that contained only the books showing Jesus as divine and burned all those portraying him as human. (ch. 55)
    • The legendary  'Q' document  is a "manuscript that even the Vatican admit they believe exists. Allegedly, it is a book of Jesus' teachings, possibly written in his own hand. (ch. 60)
  • Was Jesus Married ???
    • We can contrast Jesus to the rest of the apostles, Peter, and the brothers of the Lord, all of whom are said to have had wives (1 Corinthians 9:5).
    • This passage shows that the church was not embarrassed to reveal that its leaders were married-or to suggest that they had the right to be.
    • The same would have been true of Jesus, if he had been married.
    The central theory of  The Da Vinci Code  is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child together. go to Contents...
    • In the  New Testament Gospels :
      • There is no reference to Jesus' marriage or a wife in the Four Gospels
      • There is no reference to Jesus' marriage or a wife in any other early Christian writing
      • Other members of Jesus' family are mentioned in the Gospels (mother, father, brothers, sisters)
      • Wives of Jesus' disciples and his brothers are mentioned in the Gospels (e.g. 1 Corinthians 9:5)
      • Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary (only in Luke)
      • Mary is mentioned by name 13 times in the New Testament (Peter over 90 times), many of which are parallel stories in the different gospels
      • Mary accompanied Jesus on his travels in Galilee (Mark 15:41; Luke 8:1-3) and provided funds out of her own pocket (along with other women)
      • Mary was among the women who followed Jesus to Jerusalem during the last week of his life, witnessed his crucifixion and burial (Matt 27:56, 61; Mark 15:40, 47; Luke 23:55)
      • Mary is the first to discover Jesus' empty tomb and learn of his resurrection from the angel (all four gospels, plus the Gospel of Peter)
      • Mary Magdalene is not singled out as someone special during Jesus' life or ministry - only mentioned during his lifetime at Luke 8:1-3, along with Joanna and Susanna
      • The "Magdalene" part of Mary's name seems to indicate her place of origin - Magdala, a fishing village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee
      • St. Paul, although a Jew, remained unmarried himself and taught that celibacy was better than marriage in view of the coming End Times
    go to Contents...
    • In Apocryphal Gospels
      • In the  Gospel of Peter :
      • Mary is the first to discover Jesus' empty tomb and learn of his resurrection from the angel
      • In the  Gospel of Mary :
      • Mary Magdalene receives an important revelation from Jesus but is not said to be married to him
      • In the  Gospel of Philip :
      • There were three who always walked with the lord: Mary his mother and her sister and the Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
      • They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The savior answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her?"
      • ...it is wrong to say that when the Gospel of Philip calls Mary Jesus' "companion" that the Aramaic word means "spouse." For one thing, the word that is used is not Aramaic. The Gospel of Philip is in Coptic.
      • Even though the word used there for "companion" is actually a loan word from another language, the language, again is not Aramaic but Greek. In other words, Aramaic has nothing to do with the saying.
      • The Greek word that is used (koinonos) in fact means not "spouse" (or "lover") but "companion" (it is commonly used of friends and associates). 
    go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • False.  There is no historical record of Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene or anyone else, not even in the Gnostic gospels.
    • Exaggerated.  It's true that most Jewish men (then and now) are expected to marry. However, there were also Jewish sects, such as the Essenes (who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls), that did not marry. And it is  not  true that "celibacy was condemned."
    • False.  First, the Gospel of Philip is not in Aramaic and never was. It is a Coptic translation of a Greek original. Second, the Greek word for "companion" is commonly used of friends and associates and does not mean spouse.
    • Unlikely.  It might seem scandalous, but official Christian teaching is that Jesus was fully God  and fully man. So if he had a child, it would be part of his humanity. The important thing for Christianity is that Jesus never sinned - and Christianity does not teach that marital sex is sinful. (And Jesus' divinity is not necessary to the Church's (alleged) claim to be the sole vessel for accessing the divine.)
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • Mary Magdalene's marriage to Jesus is "a matter of  historical record ." (Ch. 58)
    • "Jesus as a married man makes infinitely more sense than our standard biblical view of Jesus as a bachelor... according to Jewish custom, celibacy was condemned." (Ch. 58)
    • "As any  Aramaic  scholar will tell you, the word  companion , in those days, literally meant spouse." (Ch. 58)
    • " A child of Jesus would undermine the critical notion of Christ's divinity and therefore the Christian Church, which declared itself the sole vessel through which humanity could access the divine." (Ch. 60)
  • Mary Magdalene in Ancient Texts and  The Da Vinci Code
    • Although we know something about Jewish society in ancient Palestine, 2,000 years ago, we know very little about Mary herself.
    • The Bible provides no personal details of her age, status or family.
    • Her name, Mary Magdalene, suggests that she came from a town called Magdala.
    • There is a place today called Magdala, 120 miles north of Jerusalem on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
    • We do know there was also an ancient place called Magdala from literature.
    • The name occurs in the New Testament, and also in Jewish texts.
    Mary Magdalene Sails to Marseilles. Fresco by Giotto in the Basilica di San Francesco, Assisi. go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • False.  "In none of our early Christian sources (including all Gnostic writings) is there any reference to Jesus' marriage or to his wife.“
    • True  (although "the mouth" is not actually said). It also says, "it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth" and “for this reason we also kiss one another.”
    • False.  First, the Gospel of Philip is not in Aramaic and never was. It is a Coptic translation of a Greek original. Second, the Greek word for "companion" is commonly used of friends and associates and does not mean spouse.
    • Unlikely.  There is no clear statement of this, nor any real implication of it. Second, the revelation imparted to Mary Magdalene takes place after the resurrection, not before the crucifixion.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • Mary Magdalene's marriage to Jesus is "a matter of  historical record ." (Ch. 58)
    • The Gospel of Philip says that Mary Magdalene was the "companion" of the Lord and that they used to often kiss on the mouth. (Ch. 58)
    • "As any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse." (Ch. 58)
    • The Gnostic Gospels indicate that Jesus intended to pass on leadership of his church to Mary Magdalene, which counters the giving of the keys to Peter in Matthew 16:18.
    • Gnostic writings are not conventional narratives; like the Gnostic creation myths with their dozens of descending divine pairs, everything operates on an allegorical and symbolic plane, so that the kisses on the mouth are the imparting of the gnosis [ secret/mystic knowledge which leads to salvation ].
    • If the Gospel of Mary Magdalene is to be believed, Dan Brown is effectively saying, then the entire institution of the Church is built on a lie. But the lie is Dan Brown's, and deliberate, for he states that this passage describes a conversation between Jesus and Mary Magdalene before Jesus' death. In fact the Gospel of Mary Magdalene says the opposite: Jesus has already been crucified and he now appears to her after the resurrection - in other words, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene is saying that Jesus is divine.
    • ...the Gnostics were unhappy about women; if proto-orthodox Christians preferred their women to be submissive, the Gnostics preferred that they were not women at all. One Gnostic gospel that Brown does not cite is the Gospel of Thomas, where... the female is 'not worthy of life' and the male alone can enter the Kingdom of Heaven (!).
    go to Contents...
  • The Divinity of Jesus & The Da Vinci Code
    • Christians believed Jesus was divine  by the time the New Testament was written (c. 50-120 AD).
    • One of  The Da Vinci Code 's most dramatic claims is that before the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, no Christians believed Jesus to be anything more than a human prophet. The idea of a divine Christ was invented by Constantine in 325 for mainly political reasons.
    • While among the most intriguing and based in real historical events, this is also one of the most demonstrably inaccurate claims in the entire novel.
    Image of Christ from the Roman catacombs, c. 380 AD. go to Contents...
    • Jesus is not recorded as referring to himself as the "Son of God," but the term is used in the writings of Paul (e.g. Rom 1:4, 8:31), which are the earliest surviving Christian writings, and in the epistle to the Hebrews (4:14).
    • The Gospel of John refers to Jesus simply as "the Son," which may have a similar meaning. Paul uses the term for both Christ and Christians, but distinguishes between the two: Christians become sons of God by adoption, but Jesus is the rightful Son of God by nature.
    • Explicit statements that Christ is God can be seen in the New Testament in at least the following places:
      • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:1,14)
      • Thomas said to him [the resurrected Jesus], "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
      • Have this same mind in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus, who although he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped, but he emptied himself and took on the form of a slave, having come in the likeness of a human. (Philippians 2:5-7)
      • But about the Son he [God] says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever." (Hebrews 1:8)
    go to Contents...
  • go to Contents...
    • In Reality
    • False.  The  Council of Nicea  (325 AD) was an important meeting of about 300 bishops from across the Roman Empire who met to discuss theological and administrative issues of the Church and Christian faith.
    • False.  There are many ancient Christian writings (back to the 1st century) that pre-date the Council of Nicea and assume the divinity of Jesus and call him "the Son of God." However, it may well be that the very earliest  followers of Jesus thought of him as only human (see below).
    • False.  The Council of Nicea met in order to discuss  how  Jesus was divine, not whether he was divine. The vote was not close: more like 250-2.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • “ At this gathering [the  Council of Nicea ], many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon - the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus...”
    • " My dear,  until that moment  in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet... a great and powerful man, but a man nevertheless. A mortal .”
    • " Jesus' establishment as ' the Son of God ' was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea... a relatively close vote at that. " (ch. 55)
  • Council of Nicea & The Da Vinci Code
    • The  Council of Nicea  (325 AD) was an important meeting of about 300 bishops from across the Roman Empire who met to discuss theological and administrative issues of the Church and Christian faith.
    • Constantine, wanting unity in the church because he wanted unity in his empire, called a council to decide the issue raised by Arius, whether Christ was a divine creation of the Father or was himself co-eternal and equal with God. 
    • The Council of Nicea met in 325 CE to decide the issue. The vast majority of the 200 or 250 bishops present sided with the view of Athanasius against Arius, which was eventually to become the view of Christianity at large....
    • It was not a vote on Jesus' divinity. Christians for 250 years had agreed Jesus was divine. The only question was how he was divine, and that was what the Council of Nicea was called to resolve. 
    Constantine and the Council of Nicea displaying the Creed go to Contents...
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    • In Reality
    • True:  Constantine did preside over the first ecumenical gathering of the church, which is known as the Council of Nicea (325 AD). He did so in order to ensure unity in the Church, but not to strengthen any "new" Christian tradition.
    • True:  Many aspects were debated and voted upon, including the date of Easter and administrative issues such as those listed. The bishops did debate and vote on the divinity of Jesus, but  not  whether he was divine. They were there to debate the type of divinity that Jesus was.
    • False:  From the New Testament authors until "that moment in history," nearly every Christian believed that Jesus was divine. He was worshipped and spoken of as "the Son of God" and "God."
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • " Constantine  needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicea....“
    • "At this gathering, many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon - the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the  divinity of Jesus.“
    • "My dear, until  that  moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet... a great and powerful man, but a man nevertheless. A mortal."
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    • In Reality
    • False:  Jesus as "Son of God" was already long established. The idea that he was divine was neither proposed nor voted on by the Council of Nicea. The debate and vote concerned whether Jesus was divine in the same sense as God the Father, or if he was a lesser deity created by the Father. The vote was  not  "relatively close" - there were only two dissenters.
    • False:  It is highly unlikely that "establishing Christ's divinity" would be necessary to unify the Roman Empire or give power to the Church (which was not called "the Vatican" back then). Consider the example of Islam, which unified empires and gave great power to religious authorities - its founder was a mortal prophet.
    • False.  While it is true that the development of the Bible was a historical process that took centuries, Constantine had nothing to do with it and the Council of Nicea did not discuss it.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • "Jesus' establishment as 'the Son of God' was  officially proposed  and voted on by the Council of Nicea... a relatively close vote at that.“
    • “ Establishing Christ's divinity was critical to the further  unification  of the Roman empire and to the new Vatican  power base .... ”
    • Constantine collated an entirely new Bible at the Council of Nicea, containing only books that speak of Jesus as divine. All books that portrayed him as human were burned.
  • Constantine the Great &  The Da Vinci Code
    • Constantine was an emperor first and his personal life was inseparable from his political life.
    • There is little doubt that he chose Christianity because he believed the Christian God would be the one to best help him defeat his enemies, succeed as an emperor, and unify his empire.
    • There is no doubt that he retained some pagan elements until long after his conversion.
    • It is nearly impossible that he could have remained a committed pagan while neglecting the proper worship of the pagan gods.
    Constantine's vision of the cross that led to his conversion. go to Contents...
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    • In Reality
    • False.  The New Testament was formed over several centuries, and the process was not even finished during Constantine's lifetime. He had nothing to do with the process. This error may be rooted in the fact that Constantine commissioned several new  copies  of the existing Bible for churches in Constantinople.
    • Highly unlikely.  Some respected scholars have held this view, but in light of further evidence nearly all scholars believe he converted to Christianity for personal reasons. However, political motivations were probably involved as well, and his Christianity may have been quite basic and certainly contained pagan elements for some time. He was baptized on his deathbed, but this was a common practice. Ancient accounts indicate he had hoped to be baptized in the Jordan River shortly before death, but he was too sick to make it.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • The  New Testament  was collated by Constantine the Great. (Ch. 55)
    • Constantine was a  lifelong pagan who was only baptized on his deathbed because he was too weak to protest. (Ch. 55)
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    • In Reality
    • Debatable.  The majority of scholars do not think that Christianity was "the winning horse" at that point, and again, evidence points to a sincere conversion.
    • False.  Jesus was commonly regarded as divine since the first century. The Council of Nicea met to decide  in what way  Jesus was divine - was he fully God or a lesser divine being created by God? Constantine did not invent the idea.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • Although a pagan, Constantine " backed the winning horse " and supported Christianity for political purposes. (Ch. 55)
    • The idea that  Jesus was divine  was invented by Constantine at the Council of Nicea. (Ch. 55)
  • The Priory of Sion & The Da Vinci Code
    • The Priory is an invention of a Frenchman called Pierre Plantard in the 1950s.
    • Plantard registered his organisation as a social club with the government in France, though it was never very social as he was the only member.
    • But then the claim was made that papers purporting to trace various genealogies supporting the Jesus bloodline thesis had been 'discovered' at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, where they are catalogued as  les Dossiers Secret  under Number 4° 1m1 249.
    • A visit to the Bibliotheque, however, or checking its catalogue online, reveals that no such dossier exists.
    • Needless to say, the list of Grand Masters of the priory is likewise bogus, meaning that you have to strike Leonardo da Vinci... and all the others, right down to Jean Cocteau, from membership.
    Official registration papers of the  Priory of Sion in 1956 Official registration papers of the  Priory of Sion in 1956 go to Contents...
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    • In Reality
    • Partly true.  The documents were "discovered" in 1975, but  not by the library.  The Dossiers do identify members of the Priory of Sion, including Leonardo da Vinci.
    • False.  The Priory is almost certainly a 20th-century fraud; even the fake society was not interested in goddess worship.
    • False.  The Priory was not founded in 1099, but in the 1950s.
    • False.  Experts regard the  Dossiers Secrets  as a fraud.
    • In The Da Vinci Code
    • "In 1975 Paris's Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as  Les Dossiers Secrets , identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Sandro Botticelli, Victor Hugo and Leonardo da Vinci." ("Fact" page)
    • The Priory of Sion is one of the oldest secret societies and had members like Leonardo and Victor Hugo. It is  the  pagan goddess worship cult. (Ch. 23)
    • The Priory of Sion was founded in 1099 by a French king who charged them with keeping his family secret, which included hidden documents. (Ch. 37)
    • Les Dossiers Secrets  prove the existence of the Priory of Sion and have been authenticated by experts. (Ch. 48)
  • The Da Vinci Code’s attitude towards the Church
    • Is “The Da Vinci Code” anti-Catholic?
    • Well, sure it is. The book is anti-Catholic as well as anti-Christian.
    • For instance, it’s not only 1.1 billion Catholics who believe Jesus is divine, recite the Nicene Creed and accept the books of the New Testament while rejecting the Gnostic gospels. The Protestants (numbering 800 million worldwide) and Orthodox Christians (in excess of 200 million) share the same faith.
    • But in the book & the film, it is “the Catholic Church” that does those terrible things.
    • “ The Da Vinci Code” presents Catholics with one set of problems, and those are best dealt with by knowing the facts of our Church’s faith and its history.
    • A broader challenge is an entertainment establishment that doesn’t know very much about Catholicism, doesn’t like what it thinks it knows, doesn’t want to learn any more, and can’t leave Catholic faith, practice and imagery alone…
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    • The Gospels portray a very Human Jesus who was born of a woman, who grew in wisdom. He eats with his friends, goes visiting, gets into arguments, has to get away from people at times, weeps, and is even afraid. He dies on a cross, in agony.
    • Christian iconography , as well, depicts Jesus in devotional art most frequently in a very human manner as:
      • an infant on his mother’s lap…
      • and a man suffering his death throes on the cross.
    • The truth is exactly the reverse of what The Da Vinci Code would have you believe: it’s the Christian Church that has preserved , in that mysterious but necessary tension, the full humanity of the One it also proclaims as Lord .
    • Why are people so fascinated with the Jesus of The Da Vinci Code ? Why do they ignore the Jesus we meet in the Gospels and through the Church? Why don’t people want to take that Jesus seriously? Why do they just want to brush him off and focus on esoteric, abstract windy speeches on inner light offered by a shadowy figure?
    • Go back to the Gospels, and read…
      • Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor…
      • Love your enemies…. feed the hungry… clothe the naked… visit the imprisoned…
      • Blessed are the poor… those who mourn… the peacemakers…
      • What you do to the least of these, you do unto me… the last shall be first…
    • The world rejects this message of Jesus. No wonder it doesn't want him to be the real Jesus . No surprise at all!
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    • For Catholics, the Church is much more than a pious association, a religious institution, or a venerable historical reality.
    • The Church is precisely what The Da Vinci Code suggests that Mary Magdalene was: the Bride of Christ that becomes one flesh with Him .
    • In the Church, Christians form part of that one mystical body of Christ. In fact, it was a woman, St. Joan of Arc, who said:
      • "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter.“
    • By way of analogy, imagine what your reaction would be if a novelist were to tell you,
      • "I am going to write a novel about your family, in which you will be portrayed as a band of criminals and perverts.
      • I am going to use your real name and the names of your parents and grandparents.
      • All the information regarding your family - a fair bit of which will, in fact, be true - will be presented as if it were the product of careful historical research.
      • But - not to worry - it's only a novel, and afterwards I'll give you a chance to respond to the falsehoods in my book."
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  • Different Reactions & how to respond to them
    • There are four types of people responding to The Da Vinci Code
      • Some treat the novel as fiction and do not believe its claims. Just have a nice conversation with them.
      • Others never having been in the church have heard this for the first time and have no way of knowing whether it is true or not. Just interact with their sincere questions.
      • Others in the church are in a similar position never having been taught about this material. What they need is good information, not an overreaction.
      • Some are looking for a reason, or, for reasons, not to believe. The novel’s information is something they grab onto for support. Be patient in interacting with them. In other words, as you talk about the novel, do so with a calm and confidence that the supposed “facts” the novel presents have missed the mark.
    • Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D. ,
    • Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.
    • Author of Breaking the da Vinci code: answers to the questions everybody's asking ,
    • (Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004.)
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  • References
    • BOCK Darrell L., Breaking the da Vinci code: answers to the questions everybody's asking , Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004.
    • EDWARDS Brian H., Da Vinci: A Broken Code , Day One Publications, 2006.
    • EHRMAN Bart D., Truth and fiction in The Da Vinci code: a historian reveals what we really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine , Oxford University Press US, 2004.
    • GUMBEL Nicky, The Da Vinci code: a response , Alpha International, 2005.
    • KELLMEYER Steve, Fact and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code , Bridegroom Press, 2004.
    • KENNEDY D. James, NEWCOMBE Jerry, The Da Vinci Myth Versus the Gospel Truth , Crossway Books, 2006.
    • McDONNELL Shawn, Preaching Another Jesus: Decoding Dan Brown's Davinci Code Hoax , Ekklesia Apostolic Resources, 2004.
    • OLSON Carl E., MIESEL Sandra, The Da Vinci hoax: exposing the errors in The Da Vinci code , Ignatius Press, 2004.
    • WELBORN Amy, De-coding Da Vinci: the facts behind the fiction of the Da Vinci code , Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2004.
    • http://www.religionfacts.com/da_vinci_code
    • http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0035.html
    • http://www.jesusdecoded.com
    • http:// www.thetruthaboutdavinci.com /
    • http://www.catholic.com/library/cracking_da_vinci_code.asp
    • http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2006/davinci_code/17may06/response_17may06.htm
    • http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/da_vinci_code/da_vinci_code.html
    • http://www.allaboutgod.com/da-vinci-code-summary-faq.htm
    • http://www.christianmonthlystandard.com/index.php/the-da-vinci-code-sorting-fact-from-fiction-4/
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