Sparky Steals From His Betters:
Xtians really Paulists ——
“Jesus” Was Only A Whisper
Campaign Gone Horribly Wrong
I go farther than Hyam Maccoby in saying that Paul of Tarsus created the whisper campaign that spawned 'Jesus' as we know "him" today.
The events surrounding "Jesus" were supposed to have taken place within a certain time in history, normally taken to be around 4 BCE to 33 CE. A rudimentary knowledge of the history during that period is needed. The main information sources of Jesus' life are from the documents known as the gospels. It is important to note that there is no independent contemporaneous source, external to the gospels, that gives any reliable information about Jesus. Thus it becomes very important to know as much as we can about the background of these gospels: namely the authorship, date of composition and general reliability. Next we ask ourselves the obvious question, could documents written at least close to half a century after the death of its main character, by non-eyewitnesses, give reliable testimonies of that person's life. We ask whether the oral tradition gives us confidence in the gospels? The answer is a resounding "No." The elapsed period between the written account and the purported events certainly allow corruption of the stories.
For Example: The Nativity is 100% mythological with no basis in historical fact. Ironically, the best external support for this comes from an episode in the gospel of Mark.
- The genealogies in Matthew and Luke contradict one another.
- The Virgin Birth is based upon pagan myths and a mistranslation of Isaiah.
- Despite what the Catholic Church teaches, Mary was no "perpetual virgin".
- The stories relating to "Jesus'" birth in Bethlehem are not consistent.
- The story of Herod's slaughter of the innocents, told in Matthew is a work of pure fiction.
- The two stories in Matthew and Luke with respect to their (Joseph, Mary and "Jesus") settling in Nazareth are not compatible.
- Matthew openly relies on Old Testament passages to construct his story of the nativity. In some cases he even twisted the Old Testament passages to fit his story.
- Two historical events, the census of Quirinius and the death of Herod, separated from each other by a decade, were presented in the gospels as contemporaneous.
- The Herod-Quirinius problem means that any attempt to date the birth of Jesus based on the gospel accounts, is predestined to fail.
- Other elements of the Nativity can also be shown to be unreliable. These stories were most likely constructed from the ground up from Old Testament accounts and popular myths.
First rewriting Old Testament stories to make up new stories have little to do with dishonesty, at least in the way the first century evangelists see it. The key word here is midrash. It is a method used by the ancient Jewish theologians to interpret and expand the sacred scripture. It is the belief that current events are somehow tied to past sacred events in a very systematic way. That it is present in the Old Testament has been long known to theologians. Old Testament passages actually takes precedence over the evangelists other source documents. As example, Matthew copied extensively from Mark, and must have considered it to be a reasonably reliable source. Yet he would change Mark's account if it does not fit into what Matthew believed to be Old Testament prediction about "Jesus." The glaring example is the passage where Matthew had "Jesus" sitting on two donkeys at the same time during the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Secondly, we see above that Matthew did not faithfully record what the Old Testament verses said. He twisted and changed the passages to make them fit his theological preconceptions. So, far from proving the Bible prophecies, reliance on Old Testament passages tends to point towards the basic unhistoricity of the stories.
No reference whatsoever to "Jesus" from contemporaneous Jewish sources exists:
- Philo of Alexandria: would have been a contemporary of "Jesus" — someone who maintained an active interest in the welfare of Israel and thus should have learnt of this "Son of God" — and in his writings there is no mention of "Jesus" or his followers.
- Justus of Tiberias was a Jewish historian who was born in Galilee about the time of the claimed crucifixion. In his two great works, a history of the war of independence and a chronicle of events from Moses to Agrippa II (d. 100 CE), not a single reference was made to "Jesus."
- Flavius Josephus was trained as a Pharisee and the passages attributed to him do not read true to this; It fails a standard test for authenticity, in that it contains vocabulary not used by Josephus per the Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus, ed. K. H. Rengstorf, 2002. Professor Shlomo Pines found a different version of Josephus testimony in an Arabic version of the tenth century. It has obviously not been interpolated in the same way as the Christian version circulating in the West. Most scholars do not believe Josephus wrote the passages, but that it is a later addition by Christian scribes - Bishop Warburton denounced it as "a rank forgery and a very stupid one, too."
- The Canonization of the Tenach occurred between 180 BCE through 200 CE. It does not mention 'Jesus' anywhere.
- Cornelius Tacitus echoed popular opinion about "Jesus" and had no independent source of information. The passage in the Annals as written in 115 CE has no value as a historical evidence for "Jesus."
- His contemporary Suetonius's erroneous single use of the title Chrestus as though it was a proper name indicates that he got his information from popular opinion and not independent historical testimony as he is talking of the period of 41 - 54 CE when Claudius is ruling Rome as Emperor. He also seems to imply that there was someone called Chrestus in Rome in 49CE when the expulsion occurred. This makes him a very dubious source indeed.
ISBN 0968601405 The Jesus Puzzle. Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?: Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus, Earl Doherty, Publisher: Canadian Humanist Pubns; 1st edition (October 19, 1999)
ISBN 085632096X The Jesus Hoax, Phyllis Graham, Publisher: Frewin; (1974)
ISBN 2226047298 Jesus, Charles Guignebert, Publisher: Albin Michel; (December 31, 1969)
ISBN 0879752564 An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism, Gordon Stein, Publisher: Prometheus Books; (December 1, 1989)
ISBN 087975429X The Historical Evidence for Jesus, George A.Wells, Publisher: Prometheus Books; (January 1, 1988)
ISBN 089526239 Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Publisher: Regnery Publishing; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
* Did the Jews have the right to execute?"
* Rejection of Pascal's Wager: which strongly influenced the above...
* Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?
* Reasons Why Christians Suck
AMERICA's FAVORITE DATE RAPIST
SHOWING HIS SMOOTH APPROACH
"Everything is falling into place. It can't be long now. Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God's people. That must mean they'll be destroyed by nuclear weapons... Gog the nation that will lead all of the other powers of darkness against Israel, will come out of the north... Gog must be Russia... now that Russia has set itself against God... it fits the description of Gog perfectly."
-- Rapist, Cad, Future President and Hollywood's Mafia pointman Ronald Reagan, in a speech delivered during a political function (1971) - From page 129 of The Bible Tells Me So: Uses and Abuses of Holy Scripture by Jim Hill and Rand Cheadle (Anchor Books, New York: 1996)
Next Sparky guest blog will tell you what to say to Christian Missionaries hopefully.
- 0&o - Sparky
Tell Them The Truth — They've got Bupkis.
Sir Moses Montefiore
According to an apocryphal account, Sir Moses Montefiore is
supposed to have been confronted by an anti-Semitic member
of the House of Lords at a state function, who informed him
that he had recently returned from Japan, "where they have
neither pigs nor Jews." Montefiore is alleged to have responded
"in that case, you and I should both go there, and then they shall
have one of each."
I'm counting on all the PP Guru readers being hip to my earlier rant on "Baby J" — Xtians are sometimes puzzled and hurt by the allergic reaction of us Jews to “Jesus” -- even to the mention of his name. But the energy is not really to “Jesus” the person, about whom Jews (like everyone else), know very little, but to his appropriation by the church and the oppression of Jews in his name.
Funny thing is no one wants to admit they have bupkis here. Nada. Nothing. And certainly “human framework” to hang the myth on. there's really very little that we can know in a firm historical sense about the real “Jesus” as he is nonexistent. We really are only seeing the wake of the myth fashioned by Paul.
Franz Rosenzweig when asked what Jews thought about “Jesus,” he answered simply, "They don't. " But in regard to the historical “Jesus,” the same thing could be said about Xtians.
The historical information about “Jesus,” therefore, is precious to me as a way of understanding not just the historical puzzle about this “whisper campaign gone awry,” but also to understand the nature of the source religion and of its varieties. Modern scholars have routinely reinvented “Jesus” or have routinely rediscovered in “Jesus” that which they want to find, be it rationalist, liberal Christianity of the 19th century, be it apocalyptic miracle workers in the 20th, be it revolutionaries, or be it whatever it is that they're looking for, scholars have been able to find in “Jesus” almost anything that they want to find.
Yet Jews have also been fascinated by the “Jesus” myth. When Jews began to think about their own history, they had to consider him as part of its' baggage. Nineteenth-century scholars who investigated “Jesus” included the Jewish historians Heinrich Graetz and Abraham Geiger. Claude Montefiore wrote a two-volume commentary on the Synoptic gospels in the early part of this century, and What A Jew Thinks about Jesus, published in 1935. Joseph Klausner wrote Jesus of Nazareth in Hebrew in 1922. Translated into several languages, it is still the best-know book on “Jesus” by a Jew. The present generation draws a bold line between “Jesus” as Jew and Christianity's picture of him. Just as earlier generations of scholars often separated “Jesus” from his Judaism, present-day scholars, Jewish and Christian, both distance him from the Christianity that claimed him. Jewish writers — when coerced under the gun to tell fundamentalists their myth was real — often characterized him as simply another unexceptional Jewish holy man, beyond his later public-relations image first created by Paul, or so unlike Jewish expectations of a Messiah as to make his lack of acceptance by most early Jews utterly unsurprising.
Honestly, even if all the hoopla was about a real person, he'd simply be yet another "failed messiah" versus the harsher "phony messiah" skeptical historians label him. If you want a person considered to be a messiah (or annointed leader) that would be Simon Bar Kokhba.
The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva convinced the Sanhedrin to support the impending revolt and regarded the chosen commander Simon Bar Kokhba the Jewish Messiah, according to the verse from Numbers 24:17: "There shall come a star out of Jacob" ("Bar Kokhba" means "son of a star" in Aramaic language).
Due to the failure of the earlier Great Jewish Revolt in the eastern Roman provinces, Bar Kokhba's support was mostly limited to the Roman province of Judea. Despite some initial successes, his revolt was brutally crushed by Emperor Hadrian: Bar Kokhba and his followers were killed in a dramatic last stand at the fortress of Betar, southwest of Jerusalem. Many of his supporters were executed, among them Rabbi Akiva. Nevertheless, it was a costly victory for Rome, and the generals, when reporting to the Senate, did not begin with the customary greeting: "I and my troops are well." After Bar Kokhba's defeat, Jerusalem was razed, Jews were forbidden to live there, and a new Roman city, Aelia Capitolina, was built in its place.
Over the past few decades, much new information about the revolt has come to light, thanks mainly to the discovery of several collections of letters, some possibly by Bar Kokhba himself, in the caves overlooking the Dead Sea. These letters can now be seen at the Israel Museum.
At the time, Christianity was still a minor sect of Judaism and most historians believe that it was this messianic claim that alienated many Christians (who believed that the true messiah was Jesus) and sharply deepened the schism.
The Jewish leaders carefully planned the second revolt to avoid numerous mistakes that plagued the first one sixty years earlier. In 132 CE, it quickly spread from Modi'in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem.
Remember the real messiah will fulfill all of the below in his first visit:
- The Sanhedrin will be re-established. (Isaiah 1:26)
- Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance. (Isaiah 2:4)
- The whole world will worship the One God of Israel. (Isaiah 2:17)
- He will be descended from David HaMelech (Isaiah 11:1) via Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8-10)
- The Moshiach will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with “fear of God” (Isaiah 11:2)
- Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership. (Isaiah 11:4)
- Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)
- He will include and attract all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)
- Jews will have returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)
- He will swallow up death forever (Isaiah 25:8)
- There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)
- All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)
- The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)
- He will be a messenger of peace. (Isaiah 52:7)
- Nations will end up recognizing the wrongs they did Israel (Isaiah 52:13-5)
- For My House shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations (Isaiah 56:3-7)
- The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
- The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)
- Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)
- The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvos
- He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together, as it is written (Zephaniah 3:9)
- Jews will know the Torah without Study (Jeremiah 31:33)
- He will give you all the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4)
- He will take the barren land and make it abundant & fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13-15, Ezekiel 36:29-30, Isaiah 11:6-9)
As for Paul of Tarsus, who claimed “Yeshua of Nazareth” to be the anointed one who was killed by the Roman court, Daniel had already prophecied about him, thus: "And the children of your people's rebels shall raise themselves to set up prophecy and will stumble" (Ibid. 14). Can there be a bigger stumbling block than this? All the Prophets said that the Anointed One saves Israel and rescues them, gathers their strayed ones and strengthens their mitzvot whereas this one caused the loss of Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant and humiliate them, and to change the Torah and to cause most of the world to erroneously worship a god besides the Lord. But the human mind has no power to reach the thoughts of the Creator, for His thoughts and ways are unlike ours. All these matters of “Jeshua of Nazareth” and of Mohammed who stood up after him are only intended to pave the way for the Anointed King, and to mend the entire world to worship God together, thus: "For then I shall turn a clear tongue to the nations to call all in the Name of the Lord and to worship him with one shoulder.Mostly I'm rambling again but I am tempted to show the attempted Mongol Invasion of Japan was actually "Jew on Jew" violence - Sparky
How is this? The entire world had become filled with the issues of the Anointed One and of the Torah and the Laws, and these issues had spread out unto faraway islands and among many nations uncircumcised in the heart, and they discuss these issues and the Torah's laws. These say: These Laws were true but are already defunct in these days, and do not rule for the following generations; whereas the other ones say: There are secret layers in them and they are not to be treated literally, and the Messiah had come and revealed their secret meanings. But when the Anointed King will truly rise and succeed and will be raised and uplifted, they all immediately turn about and know that their fathers inherited falsehood, and their prophets and ancestors led them astray.
PS Wishing I had a good scan of Sean Kelly and Neal Adam's Son O' God Comics.
PPS Never forget that the KJV version of Daniel and Isaiah are sort of tainted and bad. They have errors and edits to make Xtians look better.
WHY I HAVE BEEN TELLING YOU
THERE IS NO “JESUS” AND THAT
THE BUSHES ARE JUST EVIL —
Ponder the below:
Jonathan Chait: 'Off we go, into the Christian yonder'
Posted on Friday, May 20 @ 09:31:53 EDT
Air Force Academy situation shows the real agenda of evangelicals.
By Jonathan Chait, Los Angeles Times
Conservatives have been arguing for years that the religious right is simply misunderstood. These vilified godly folks don't want to impose their beliefs on anybody else, we're told. They simply want to defend their traditional beliefs and practices against the aggressive impositions of a secular culture. Therefore any suggestion to the contrary is liberal hysteria or, worse, discrimination against "people of faith."
So how do conservatives explain what's been going on at the Air Force Academy?
As a number of newspapers have documented, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., has essentially established evangelical Christianity as its official religion.
The examples are legion. Last season, the football coach hung a banner in the locker room laying out a "Competitor's Creed," including the lines "I am a Christian first and last" and "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."
And here are other examples among those noted in an April report by the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State: Campus chaplains have encouraged proselytizing among the students, and younger cadets who skipped out on prayer services have been forced by their seniors to march back to their dorms in a ritual called "heathen flight." On one occasion, every seat in the dining hall was covered with a flier advertising a showing of "The Passion of the Christ," including the tagline, "This is an officially sponsored USAFA event."
These are just a few examples among many. Non-evangelicals have described an atmosphere of pervasive religious pressure. A top academy chaplain was discharged for speaking out against this state of affairs.
So, again, what do the conservatives have to say about this? Not very much. I searched three major conservative publications — the Washington Times, National Review and the Weekly Standard. I found only one article referring to the Air Force scandal: a Web-only column by conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt in the Standard decrying the Air Force's promised internal investigation as an unnecessary inquisition and devoting one sentence to summarizing the charges.
And no wonder the conservative press, normally obsessed with the role of religion in public life, would have so little to say about this scandal. It undercuts its long-standing effort to portray the religious right as merely defending itself. A notable subset of this effort consists of pleas by politically conservative Jews to their moderate and liberal brethren to stop worrying about the religious right. "All right, enough, already. The Christians aren't coming to get you," writes National Review's Jonah Goldberg in a typical salvo.
Now, it's easy to get carried away by one extreme example, just as conservatives do when some school principal somewhere doesn't let a kid wear a Santa Claus hat or some such nonsense. But the situation at the Air Force Academy, though atypical of the United States, does not represent random excess by the religious right. It's an embodiment of the religious right's vision of America. When asked about the allegations, a spokesman for Focus on the Family replied, "If 90% of cadets identify themselves as Christian, it is common sense that Christianity will be in evidence on the campus…. I think a witch hunt is underway to root out Christian beliefs."
This comment is telling, because it basically jibes with what religious conservatives have been saying for a long time. Most Americans are Christian, therefore the United States is a Christian country. Therefore, the institutions of the state ought to promote the religious views of the majority, and everybody else ought to shut up and take it.
To be sure, I do think liberals can get carried away exaggerating the threat of the religious right. The truth is that the religious right does not have a great deal of influence at the national level — certainly not proportional to its share of the Republican base.
President Bush hasn't even made the slightest effort to push a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, for instance — even though he says he supports it. The influence of the religious right mostly remains confined to isolated strongholds, such as Colorado Springs and Kansas.
But although the religious right doesn't have the capacity to impose its views on the rest of the country, it certainly has the intent to do so. Conservatives may dismiss fears of a Christian theocracy as liberal hysteria. Theocracy, though, is not an inaccurate description of life at the Air Force Academy.
© 2005 Los Angeles Times. Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times (Link on article title)
Bloggers and radio hosts: Don't be shy -- tell your readers you saw it on Smirking Chimp! I read in the L. A. Times but liked the formatting on the Chimp.
Robyn E. Blumner: 'The Air Force Academy's force-fed evangelism'
Posted on Sunday, May 29 @ 10:16:10 EDT
By Robyn E. Blumner, St. Petersburg Times
In my book, true heroism is defined by those who talk truth to power even to their own detriment. It includes people like Sherron Watkins, the former Enron vice president who blew the whistle on the financial manipulations that hid the company's crushing debt. (Go see the movie Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room for all the gory details.)
Watkins has become famous for her rectitude, but rarely do such acts lead to public accolades. Bad endings for the truth sayer are far more likely.
Capt. MeLinda Morton is a prime example. A chaplain at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Morton has been trying her mightiest to end the force-fed evangelism that is rampant on campus. Rather than thanks, her outspoken defense of the Constitution has gotten her booted from her job and a one-way ticket to exile in Japan - known as "reassignment" in military speak.
Her fight against proselytizing is taking place in Colorado Springs - control central for the most radical elements of the Christian Right. James "tolerance is a homosexual plot" Dobson's Focus on the Family is based there - a concern so large that there is no need to use a street address on a letter. Also nearby is the Officers' Christian Fellowship, an organization whose express purpose is to create "ambassadors for Christ in uniform." Its slogan is: "Christian Officers Exercising Biblical Leadership to Raise up a Godly Military." (That's funny, the Taliban say something very similar.)
There is significant cross-pollination between the local evangelical groups and the Academy, to a point where cadets are reportedly cajoled, harangued and even bullied into being "saved."
Mikey Weinstein, an attorney in Albuquerque, N.M., has been collecting complaints of this nature for more than a year and says he has about 150 of them. Weinstein is a graduate of the Academy, as is his elder son. But when his youngest son, who is a member of the class of 2007, was called a "f--- Jew" and taunted as a Christ killer, Weinstein got involved.
"The Air Force Academy is suffering from a constitutional disease," Weinstein said. "They are trying to tell people whose God is best." He said his complaints have received little more than lip-service.
"I love and cherish the Academy," he said, "but it's been overtaken by the evangelical right."
Morton, a 48-year-old Lutheran minister, has seen this up close over the past 2 1/2 years. She says the academy is sending cadets the message that adopting Christian conservative evangelical values is key to their success at the school.
"There's nothing wrong with people reaching out to cadets," Morton said. "But when the purpose is to proselytize and make the military into a godly force, then that's inappropriate."
Fisher DeBerry, the Academy's head football coach, exemplifies the explicit sectarianism on campus. Two weeks after the academy had ostensibly begun religious sensitivity training, DeBerry posted a banner in the football locker room that read: "I am a Christian first and last *** I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."
Challenging authority is difficult in any institution, but it's career suicide within a military structure that maintains a strict hierarchy in which the way to advance is to parrot what those above you say. Morton, who was executive officer of the 16 chaplains, knew what she was risking when she started criticizing the religiously freighted climate and repudiating the Academy's official stance that remedial steps were being taken.
Since coming forward, Morton has been removed from her administrative position and has orders to transfer to Okinawa by the end of July. The Academy has said in news reports that the posting is a routine reassignment. (It will no longer discuss her case with the media.) Morton says the move is to get rid of her.
"I spent 2 1/2 years putting in 16-hour days," Morton said. "Now I have no specific duties."
The recent publicity over the religious atmosphere has put pressure on the Pentagon. Forty-five members of Congress joined a letter this month telling the Air Force, in effect, "we're watching." A Pentagon task force was dispatched to investigate the allegations. But the group didn't even bother to contact Weinstein (who calls it a "mask force.") As to Morton, she said the group spoke with her just hours before briefing the Air Force's acting secretary - giving it no time to investigate her claims.
It looks like a classic whitewash in the making.
The Academy has just recently emerged from a scandal over the insensitive way the rapes of female cadets were handled. Now it's accused of conversion by intimidation. The leadership either has the sense of a flea or is seeking to dissuade women and non-evangelicals from attending the Academy. I wonder which?
© 2005 St. Petersburg Times. Reprinted from The St. Petersburg Times:
What amuses Sparky is that the Xtian Zombie Forces attacked Robyn and left Jonathan alone - but quoted his sources trying to make the Xtians seem openminded when they're really going after other faiths:
- Air Force Academy Discourages Christian Evangelism
- Air Force cracks down on Christian 'coercion' Academy tells cadets not to use Bible quotes, sharing faith may be intolerant
- Christian Emphasis on Evangelism at Heart of Air Force Academy Scandal
- Evangelism, the Left, and the Air Force Academy
It irks me that they want to label us liberals when we are offended by calling us filthy Jews. But it makes it easier to view them as archreactionary bible thumpers who don't get it. I loved working with the USAF and NASA in the 1980s. Time the archreationary knucklewalkers remembered “Separation of Church and State” - and shut the Fuck up in public about their piss poor imaginary friend. - Sparky - o&o
Friday, August 26, 2005
SPARKY: Ho Hum — It's Another Anti-Xtian Tirade
Sparky watched Disney's ABC TV Discovery Channel 2 hour special debunking the popular Dan Brown novel. And it contained nothing that Doug Moench had not already covered better in the old Parodox Press “Big Book of Conspiracies” now The Big Book of Conspiracies (Factoid Books) ... basically it's all pap for the Papists and other Xtians. So start below and continue:
Wired: Michelle Delio: Da Vinci: Father of Cryptography?
“ Dan Brown's latest novel, The Da Vinci Code, cites Leonardo da Vinci as an unheralded privacy advocate and encryption pioneer. ... Ever looked at the Mona Lisa and wondered why he's got such a goofy grin? ... Yes, we do mean he. ... Evidently, Mona isn't quite the woman art historians thought she was. But only those who know the secret code can look at Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait and see the happy hermaphrodite that lurks within. ... Dan Brown's latest novel, The Da Vinci Code, published by Doubleday Books, is about the famous Renaissance artist and the oblique references to the occult contained in his equally famous paintings. It's also about ancient secret societies, modern forensics, science and engineering, and the history of religion. ... Most of all The Da Vinci Code is about the history of encryption -- the many methods developed over time to keep private information from prying eyes. ... The novel begins with Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receiving an urgent late-night phone call: The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. ... (complete in link)”
Wikipedia: The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code book cover
The Da Vinci Code is a novel written by American author Dan Brown and published in 2003 by Doubleday Fiction (ISBN 0385504209). It is a worldwide bestseller with 36 million copies in print (as of August 2005) and has been translated into 44 languages. Combining the detective, thriller, and conspiracy theory genres, the novel has helped spur widespread popular interest in certain theories concerning the legend of the Holy Grail and the role of Mary Magdalene in the history of Christianity—theories that Christians typically consider to be heretical. It is a sequel to Brown's 2000 novel Angels and Demons, again featuring character Robert Langdon. In November 2004, Random House published a "Special Illustrated Edition", with 160 illustrations interspersed with the text.
The book claims that the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in a conspiracy to cover up the true story of Jesus. Because the novel claims to contain elements of historical truth within its fictional framework, it has attracted a large amount of criticism for its historical claims, as well as for its clichéd style and improbable storyline. At least ten books debunking its claims have been written.
Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci. Renowned curator Jacques
Saunière is found murdered in the spread-eagle position on the
floor of the Louvre museum, a cryptic message written in black-light
pen next to his naked torso, which has had a pentacle drawn on it in blood.
The book concerns the attempts of the protagonist, Robert Langdon, Professor of Religious Symbology at Harvard University, to solve the murder of renowned curator Jacques Saunière (see Bérenger Saunière) of the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title of the novel refers, among other things, to the fact that Saunière's body is found inside the Louvre naked and posed like Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man, with a cryptic message written beside his body and a Pentacle drawn on his stomach in his own blood. The interpretation of hidden messages inside Da Vinci's famous works, including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, figure prominently in the solution to the mystery.
The main conflict in the novel revolves around the solution to two mysteries:
- What secret was Saunière protecting that led to his murder?
- Who is the mastermind behind his murder?
The novel has several concurrent storylines that follow different characters. Eventually all the storylines are brought together and resolved at the end of the book
The unraveling of the mystery requires the solution to a series of brain-teasers, including anagrams and number puzzles. The solution itself is found to be intimately connected with the possible location of the Holy Grail and to a mysterious society called the Priory of Sion, as well as to the Knights Templar. The Catholic organization Opus Dei also figures prominently in the plot.The novel is the second book by Brown in which Robert Langdon is the main character. The previous book, Angels and Demons, took place in Rome and concerned the Illuminati.
These are the principal characters that drive the plot of the story. It seems to be Dan Brown's style that many have names that are puns, anagrams or hidden clues:
- Robert Langdon – A well-respected professor of Religious Symbology at Harvard University. At the beginning of the story, he is in Paris to give a lecture on his work. Despite his post, and the fact that his work largely centers around access to the Vatican Library, Langdon is described by the author as lacking even rudimentary Italian language skills. Having made an appointment to meet Jacques Saunière, the curator of the Louvre, he is startled to find the French police at his hotel room door. They inform him that Saunière has been murdered and they would like his immediate assistance at the Louvre to help them solve the crime. Unbeknownst to Langdon, he is in fact the prime suspect in the murder and has been summoned to the scene of the crime in order that the police may extract a confession from him.
- Jacques Saunière – the curator of the Louvre, secret head of the Priory of Sion, and grandfather of Sophie Neveu. Before being murdered by Silas (an albino monk) in the museum, he reveals false information to Silas about the Priory's keystone, which contains information about the true location of the Holy Grail. After being shot in the stomach, he uses the last minutes of his life to arrange a series of clues for his estranged granddaughter Sophie to unravel the mystery of his death and preserve the secret kept by the Priory of Sion. Saunière's name may be based on Bérenger Saunière, a real person who was extensively mentioned in Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
- Sophie Neveu – the granddaughter of Jacques Saunière. She is a French government cryptographer, who studied at the elite Royal Holloway, University of London Information Security Group. She was raised by her grandfather after her parents were killed in an automobile accident when she was a girl. Her grandfather used to call her "Princesse Sophie" (French for Princess Sophie) and trained her to solve complicated word puzzles. As a girl, she accidentally discovered a strange key in her grandfather's room inscribed with the initials "P.S.". Later, as a college student, she made a surprise visit to her grandfather's house in Normandy and observed him participating in a sex ritual. The incident led to her estrangement with her grandfather until the night of his murder.
- Bezu Fache – a captain in the DPJF, the French criminal investigation police. Tough, canny, persistent, he is in charge of the investigation of Saunière's murder. From the message left by the dying curator, he is convinced the murderer is Robert Langdon, whom he summons to the Louvre in order to extract a confession. He is thwarted in his early attempt by Sophie Neveu, who knows Langdon to be innocent and surreptitiously notifies Langdon that he is in fact the prime suspect. He pursues Langdon doggedly throughout the book in the belief that letting him get away would be career suicide. "Bezu" is not a common French personal name, but "le Bezu" is the name of a castle in Rennes-le-Château with Cathar associations. When we first encounter Fache, he is compared to an ox; note that "Bezu" is an anagram (and the spoonerism) of zebu (zébu in French), a type of ox. On a related note, fâché is French for "angry", but "Fache" is also a reasonably common French surname.
- Silas – an albino devotee of Opus Dei who practices severe corporal mortification. He was orphaned in Marseille as a young man, fell into a life of crime, and was imprisoned in the Pyrenees until accidentally freed by an earthquake. He finds refuge with a young Spanish priest named Aringarosa, who gives him the name Silas and who eventually becomes the head of Opus Dei. Before the beginning of the events in the novel, Aringarosa puts him in contact with the Teacher and tells him that the mission he will be given is of utmost importance in saving the true Word of God. Under the orders of the Teacher, he murders Jacques Saunière and the other three leaders of the Priory of Sion in order to extract the location of the Priory's "keystone". Discovering later that he has been duped with false information, he chases Langdon and Neveu in order to obtain the actual keystone. He does not know the true identity of the Teacher. He is reluctant to commit murder, knowing that it is a sin, and does so only because he is assured his actions will save the Catholic Church.
- Bishop Manuel Aringarosa – the worldwide head of Opus Dei and the patron of the albino monk Silas. Five months before the start of the narrative, he is summoned by the Vatican to a meeting at an astronomical observatory in the Italian Alps and told, to his great surprise, that in six months the Pope will withdraw his support of Opus Dei. Since he believes that Opus Dei is the force keeping the Church from disintegrating into what he sees as the corruption of the modern era, he believes his faith demands that he take action to save Opus Dei. Shortly after the meeting with the Vatican officials, he is contacted by a shadowy figure calling himself "The Teacher", who has learned somehow of the secret meeting. The Teacher informs him that he can deliver an artifact to Aringarosa so valuable to the Church that it will give Opus Dei extreme leverage over the Vatican. The name "Aringarosa" seems to be the (approximate) literal Italian translation of "red herring" ("aringa rossa"; "aringa rosa" means, literally, "pink herring"), although this is not the expression used in Italian for "red herring" in its figurative sense.
- The Teacher – a shadowy figure who drives the plot of the story. He has learned not only about the plight of Opus Dei, but also the identities of the four leaders of the Priory of Sion, who in turn know the location of the keystone. He contacts Aringarosa and agrees to supply him with a fantastic artifact that will give Opus Dei great power, namely documents that, if released, would destroy the Church. Aringarosa, acting out of self interest and piety, agrees to his offer in order to save both Opus Dei and the Church. The Teacher uses Silas, Aringarosa's protectee, to carry out his plans.
- André Vernet – president of the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. He is surprised when Neveu and Langdon arrive at the bank and inform him that Jacques Saunière, a longtime account holder at the bank, has died and that Neveu now possesses the depository key to the account. His suspicions are aroused when Neveu and Langdon, after accessing the bank with the key, do not know the account number, indicating that they have no legitimate business being in the bank. When he sees a news report that Neveu and Langdon are fugitives suspected in Saunière's murder, he returns to where he left them, but he finds that they have indeed entered the correct account number and retrieved a rosewood box from Saunière's safety deposit. Realizing they are legitimate clients according to the strict rules of the bank, he feels duty-bound to help them escape. Acting as a bank driver, he bluffs his way past the police in one of the bank's trucks with Langdon and Neveu concealed in the back of the truck. He later changes his mind and attempts to turn them in, but is thwarted by Langdon, who steals the truck and escapes with Neveu to the nearby château of his friend, Sir Leigh Teabing.
- Sir Leigh Teabing – British Royal Historian, a Knight of the Realm, Grail scholar, and friend of Robert Langdon. Independently wealthy, he lives outside Paris in a château, where Langdon and Neveu take refuge after escaping from the Depository Bank of Zurich with the rosewood box containing the keystone. He reveals the "real" interpretation of the Grail to Neveu (see below). After they are discovered at his home simultaneously by Silas and the French police, the three of them flee with his chauffeur Rémy, flying to England in his private jet. They take Silas with them bound and gagged. After Neveu solves the combination lock of the keystone, he interprets the enclosed riddle as meaning they should go to the Temple Church in London to find the next hidden clue that will let them unlock the second combination lock of the keystone. Note that Sir Leigh's name is an anagram of the surnames of Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh — authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book which espouses very similar beliefs to Sir Leigh's. Teabing is revealed at the end of the story to be the Teacher.
- Rémy Legaludec – chauffeur to Leigh Teabing. After flying with Teabing, Langdon, and Neveu to England, he drives them to the Temple Church in London. Unbeknownst to the others, he is in fact working for the Teacher. While they are inside the Temple Church, he rescues Silas, who was tied up by the other three. Armed with a pistol, he enters the church before the others can locate and solve the riddle supposedly hidden there. He takes Teabing hostage and demands the keystone from Langdon. When Langdon gives him the keystone, he and Silas flee in his car with Teabing as hostage. Rémy Martin is a famous brand of cognac, and cognac plays a role in Rémy's fate.
- The docent at Rosslyn Chapel – he is giving a guided tour of Rosslyn Chapel to Langdon and Neveu when he sees the rosewood box they are carrying and realizes that it seems to be an exact duplicate of a box owned by his grandmother, who is the head of the trust that oversees the chapel. He is revealed to be Sophie's brother.
- Guardian of the Rosslyn Trust – she is, in fact, the wife of Jacques Saunière and Sophie Neveu's grandmother. The docent is Sophie's brother. Believing that they had been targeted for assassination by the Church for knowing the powerful secret of the Priory of Sion, she and Saunière agreed that she and Sophie's brother should live secretly in Scotland. Only Sophie's parents were in the car at the time even though the whole family was supposed to be there. Saunière told the authorities that Sophie's grandmother and her brother were in the car. She tells Neveu and Langdon that although the Holy Grail and the secret documents were once buried in the vault of Rosslyn Chapel, they were removed to France by the Priory of Sion only several years ago. Reading the parchment inside the second keystone, she realizes where the Grail is now hidden, but refuses to tell Langdon, saying he will figure it out eventually on his own. According to her, the Priory of Sion never intended to reveal the secret of the Grail according to any set timetable. She believes that such a revelation is unnecessary anyway, since the true nature and spiritual power of the Grail is emerging into the world without the location of the actual artifact being revealed. She also informs Sophie Neveu of her true identity through her bloodline.
Summary of spoilers
- Jacques Saunière was the head of the Priory of Sion and therefore possessed the knowledge of the "keystone", which in turn reveals the location of the Holy Grail, as well as documents which would shake the foundation of Christianity and the Church. He was killed in order to extract this information from him and eliminate the members of the Priory of Sion.
- The reason that Sophie Neveu disassociated herself from her grandfather is that she witnessed him participating in a pagan sex ritual (Hieros Gamos) at his home in Normandy, when she made a surprise visit there during a break from college.
- The message Saunière wrote with a black-light pen on the floor before dying contained the extra line "P.S. Find Robert Langdon". This was the reason Bezu Fache suspected Langdon of being the murderer. Fache had erased this line before Langdon arrived so that Langdon would not be aware that the police suspected him. Sophie Neveu saw the entire text of the message by accident when it was faxed to her office by the police. Sophie realized immediately that the message was meant for her, since her grandfather used to call her "Princesse Sophie" (i.e. "P.S.") when she was a girl. From this she also knew Langdon to be innocent. She informs him of this secretly when they are in the Louvre by telling him to call her personal voicemail box and listen to the message that she had left there for him.
- The other three lines of Saunière's blood message are anagrams. The first line are the digits of the Fibonacci sequence out of order. The second and third lines ("O, draconian devil!" and "Oh, lame saint!") are anagrams respectively for "Leonardo da Vinci" and "The Mona Lisa" (in English). These clues were meant to lead to a second set of clues. On the glass over the Mona Lisa, Saunière wrote the message "So dark the con of Man" with a curator's pen that can only be read in black light. The second clue is an anagram for Madonna of the Rocks, another Da Vinci painting hanging nearby. Behind this painting, Saunière hid a key. On the key, written with the curator's pen, is an address.
- The key opens a safe deposit box at the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. Saunière's account number at the bank is the Fibonacci sequence digits, arranged in the correct order.
- The instructions that Saunière revealed to Silas at gunpoint are actually a well-rehearsed lie, namely that the keystone is buried in the Church of Saint-Sulpice beneath an obelisk that lies exactly along the ancient "Rose Line" (the former Prime Meridian which passed through Paris before it was redefined to pass through Greenwich). In reality, the message beneath the obelisk simply contains a reference to a passage in the Book of Job which reads "Hitherto shalt thou go and no further". When Silas reads this, he realizes he has been duped.
- The keystone is actually a cryptex, a cylindrical device invented by Leonardo Da Vinci for transporting secure messages. In order to open it, the combination of rotating components must be arranged in the correct order. If forced open, an enclosed vial of vinegar will rupture and dissolve the message, which was written on papyrus. The rosewood box containing the cryptex contains clues to the combination of the cryptex, written in backwards script in the same manner as Leonardo's journals. While fleeing to England aboard Teabing's plane, Langdon solves the riddle and finds the combination to be "S-O-F-I-A", the ancient Greek form of Sophie's name, also meaning wisdom.
- The keystone cryptex actually contains a second smaller cryptex with a second riddle that reveals its combination. The riddle, which says to seek the orb above a tomb of "a knight a pope interred", refers not to a medieval knight, but rather to the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton, who was buried in Westminster Abbey, and was eulogized by Alexander Pope (A. Pope). The orb refers to the apple observed by Newton which led to his discovery of the Law of universal gravitation, and thus the combination to the second cryptex is "A-P-P-L-E".
- The Teacher is actually Sir Leigh Teabing. He learned of the identities of the leaders of the Priory of Sion and bugged their offices. Rémy is his collaborator. It is Teabing who contacts Bishop Aringarosa using a phony French accent to hide his identity and dupes him into financing the plan to find the Grail. He never intended to hand the Grail over to Aringarosa but was simply taking advantage of Opus Dei's resolve to find it. Instead he believed that the Priory of Sion intended to renege on its vow to reveal the secret of the Grail to the world at the appointed time, and thus he was planning to steal the Grail documents and reveal them to the world himself. It is he who informed Silas that Langdon and Sophie Neveu were at his chateau. He did not seize the keystone from them himself because he did not want to reveal his identity to them. His plan to have Silas break into his house and seize the keystone was thwarted when the police raided the house, having followed the GPS device in the truck Langdon had stolen and having heard Silas' gunshot. Teabing leads Neveu and Langdon to the Temple Church in London knowing full well that it was a blind alley. Rather he wanted to stage the hostage scene with Rémy in order to obtain the keystone without revealing his real plot to Langdon and Neveu. The call Silas receives while riding in the limousine with Rémy is in fact Teabing, surreptitiously calling from the back of the limousine.
- In order to erase all knowledge of his work, Teabing kills Rémy by giving him cognac laced with peanut powder, knowing Rémy has a deadly allergy to peanuts. Teabing also anonymously tells the police that Silas is hiding in the London headquarters of Opus Dei.
- In Westminster Abbey, in the showdown with Teabing, Langdon secretly opens the second cryptex and removes its contents before destroying it in front of Teabing. Teabing is arrested and led away while fruitlessly begging Langdon to tell him the contents of the second cryptex and the secret location of the Grail.
- Bishop Aringarosa and Silas believed they were saving the Church, not destroying it.
- Bezu Fache figures out that Neveu and Langdon are innocent after discovering the bugging equipment in Teabing's barn.
- Silas accidentally shoots Aringarosa outside the London headquarters of Opus Dei while fleeing from the police. Having realized his terrible error and that he has been duped, Aringarosa tells Bezu Fache to give the bearer bonds in his brief case to the families of the murdered leaders of the Priory of Sion. Silas dies of fatal wounds.
- The final message inside the second keystone actually does not refer to Rosslyn Chapel, although the Grail was indeed once buried there, below the Star of David on the floor (the two interlocking triangles are the "blade" and "chalice", i.e., male and female symbols).
- The docent in Rosslyn Chapel is Sophie's long-lost brother.
- The guardian of Rosslyn Chapel, Marie Chauvel, is Sophie's long-lost grandmother, and the wife of Jacques Saunière.
- Even though all four of the leaders of the Priory of Sion were killed, the secret is not lost, since there is still a contingency plan (never revealed) which will keep the organization and its secret alive.
- The real meaning of the last message is that the Grail is buried beneath the small pyramid (i.e., the "blade", a male symbol) directly below the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre (i.e., the "chalice", a female symbol, which Langdon and Sophie ironically almost crash into while making their original escape from Bezu Fache). See La Pyramide Inversée for further discussion.
- At the end of the book, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu fall in love, with implications of them having sex. They arrange to meet in Florence.
Narrative paradox: The novel continually portrays characters reacting with total amazement and disbelief when told the "true" story of the Grail and of Mary Magdalene, while also presenting this "truth" as so well-known that there is no serious dispute amongst academics about it. It also implies that the "secret" is so widely shared that it has been conveyed in numerous publicly available books and art works throughout history, while still remaining unknown to the general public.
Continuity question: at the conclusion of Angels & Demons (which precedes The Da Vinci Code) Robert Langdon sleeps with Vittoria Vetra. Where Sophie is Saunière's granddaugher, Vittoria is the daughter of Leonardo Vetra, whose murder launches Angels & Demons. Like Sophie, Vittoria is a stranger who, along with Langdon, resolves the various mysteries posed in the story.
Secret of the Holy Grail
Detail of the The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. As explained by
Leigh Teabing to Sophie Neveu, the figure at the right hand of Jesus
is supposedly not the apostle John, but Mary Magdalene, who was
his wife and pregnant with his child. The absence of a chalice in the
painting indicates that Da Vinci knew that Mary Magdalene was
actually the Holy Grail (the bearer of Jesus' blood). This is reinforced
by the letter "M" that is created with the bodily positions of Jesus,
Mary, and the male apostle (Saint Peter) upon who she is leaning.
(Based on a scan by Mark Harden).
- The Holy Grail is not a physical chalice, but a woman, namely Mary Magdalene, who carried the bloodline of Christ.
- The Old French expression for the Holy Grail, San gréal, actually is a play on Sang réal, which literally means "royal blood" in Old French.
- The Grail relics consist of the documents that testify to the bloodline, as well as the actual bones of Mary Magdalene.
- The Grail relics of Mary Magdalene were hidden by the Priory of Sion in a secret crypt beneath Rosslyn Chapel.
- The Church has suppressed the truth about Mary Magdalene and Jesus' bloodline for 2000 years. This is principally because they fear the power of the sacred feminine, which they have demonized as Satanic.
- 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 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 Marseille. She gave birth to a daughter, named Sarah. The bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene became the Merovingian dynasty of France.
- Sophie Neveu and her brother are descendants of the original bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (their last name was changed to Neveu, "nephew," 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 (see Kingdom of Jerusalem). The Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar were organized to keep the secret.
The secrets of the Grail are connected to Leonardo Da Vinci's work as follows:
- Da Vinci was a member of the Priory of Sion and knew the secret of the Grail. The secret is in fact revealed in The Last Supper, in which no actual chalice is present at the table. The figure seated next to Christ is not a man, but a woman, his wife Mary Magdalene. Most reproductions of the work are from a later alteration that obscured her obvious female characteristics.
- The Mona Lisa is actually a self-portrait by Leonardo as a woman. The androgyny reflects the sacred union of male and female which is implied in the holy union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Such parity between the cosmic forces of masculine and feminine has long been a deep threat to the established power of the Church. The name Mona Lisa is actually an anagram for "Amon L'Isa", referring to the father and mother gods of Ancient Egypt (namely Amon and Isis). (However, a closer look at Egyptian mythology shows that Isis was never the spouse of Amon, but of Osiris (god of the underworld), and Amon's spouse was Mut. Dan Brown also incorrectly claims that Amon was the god of masculine fertility.)
The mystery within the mystery
Part of the advertising campaign for the novel was that the book itself held four codes, and that the reader who solved them would be given a prize. Several thousand people actually solved the codes, and one name was randomly chosen to be the winner. The prize was a trip to Paris.
The solution to the mystery involved discovering that the book jacket conceals latitude and longitude coordinates, written in reverse. Adding one degree to the latitude coordinates gives the coordinates of the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in northern Virginia, which is the location of a mysterious statue called Kryptos, which will supposedly figure prominently in Dan Brown's next novel.
Inspiration and influences
The novel is part of the late twentieth-century revival of interest in Gnosticism. Its emphasis on the role of Mary Magdalene in early Christianity comes straight from Gnostic scriptures, as does much of its portrayal of fertility rites and mystery cults in the practices of the ancient church. The later ecclesiastical history described in Langdon and Teabing's lengthy soliloquies is largely adapted from modern interpretations of the relationship between Gnosticism and Christianity; the most influential of these is probably 1982 pseudo-documentary book Holy Blood, Holy Grail (which is explicitly named, among several others, on page 253). It has been claimed that The Da Vinci Code is a romanised version of this work, which was itself based on a series of short films that ran on the BBC in the late 1970s. Similarities include Mary Magdalene as the living Holy Grail, the divine origin of the French royal dynasty, occultism, ancient Egyptian wisdom, papal conspiracy, and the use of steganography. In the book, the French painter Poussin with his "Et in Arcadia ego" canvas plays the same role that Brown later assigned to Leonardo da Vinci (years later one of the authors openly admitted to the press that the entire story had been invented). In reference to Baigent, Brown named the villain of his story "Teabing".
Some also claim Brown has reworked themes from his own earlier Robert Langdon novel, Angels and Demons (see that article for a more thorough discussion).
Because of the book's opening claim:
- "Fact: (...) All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
many have viewed The Da Vinci Code as a genuine exposé of orthodox Christianity's past. As a result, the book has attracted a generally negative response from the Catholic and other Christian communities, as well as from historians who believe that Brown has distorted – and in some cases fabricated – history, and from art historians and other readers complaining of sloppy research. Others, including the author, note that the "fact" statement does not claim that the theories presented by the characters in The Da Vinci Code regarding Mary Magdalene, Jesus of Nazareth, and Christianity's past are accurate.
- The claim that, prior to AD 325, Christ was considered no more than a "mortal prophet" by his followers, and that it was only as a consequence of Emperor Constantine's politicking and a close vote at the First Council of Nicaea that Christianity came to view him as divine: This has been debunked by various authors with extensive reference to the Bible and Church Fathers, sources that pre-date the First Council of Nicaea. (See this example, or Olson and Meisel (2004), who refer to The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, 325–1870 (1964) by Philip Hughes.) At the Council, the central question was whether Christ and God were one, or whether instead Christ was the first created being, inferior to the Father, but still superior to all other beings (see Arianism). The central issue of the book, the female deity and unity of male and female, is one of the main preoccupations of modern New Age Wiccan Paganism, but was never an issue in early Christianity. Brown does not quote scriptural support for his thesis, whether canonical or apocryphal. While it can be argued that the role of Mary Magdalene was generally underestimated in history, and this argument has scriptural support, the assertion that she was romantically involved with Jesus is pure conjecture; even gnostic apocrypha do not go that far).
- The claim that Mary Magdalene was of the tribe of Benjamin (Chapter 58): This is not supported by any historical evidence. The fact that Magdala was located in northern Israel, whereas the tribe of Benjamin resided in the south, weighs against it. Furthermore, Paul was a Benjamite but makes no mention of this supposed marriage.
- The idea that the purported marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene would create a "potent political union with the potential of making a legitimate claim to the throne" (Chapter 58): The worldly connotations of Jesus' kingdom being in or beyond the world have long been a subject of debate in scholarly communities. For those who believe in the story of the gospels, his death and departure after resurrection would exclude him from being an earthly king. However, the connection of the Christian church with actual earthly governments cannot be denied.
- The assertion that "the sacred feminine" has been suppressed by Christianity: In Roman Catholicism, for example, Mary (of Nazareth), the mother of Jesus, is specially venerated as the "Mother of God," the "Queen of Heaven," the spiritual mother of all mankind, and is believed to be free of sin. However it is also of merit to note that in the gospels Jesus did not accord her any privileges, and treated her with a seeming indifference. This claim, however, can be countered by arguing he tells one of his apostles, The Beloved Apostle, to watch over and care for her as he would his own mother.
- The claim that Rosslyn Chapel was built by the Knights Templar. It was actually founded by Sir William St Clair, third Earl of Orkney and Lord of Rosslyn.
- The allegation that "the Church burned at the stake five million women" as witches has been a problem for many critics because data do not exist to permit an estimate. Reports have ranged from between the extremely high figures of 9 million and extremely low figures of mere hundreds, both of which have been vigorously challenged. More considered estimates range between 40,000 and 60,000, mostly carried out by secular Christian courts, and not by the Church. Witch burnings were also much more prevalent in some Protestant denominations, although the Da Vinci Code claims that they were a purely Catholic event.(Jenny Gibbons, Brian Levack, WIlliam Manchester, Norman Cantor)
- The assertion that the original Olympics were held "as a tribute to the magic of Venus" (Chapter 6), i. e. apparently Aphrodite: Although the origins of the Olympic festivals remain in obscurity, it has been well documented that they were religious festivals in honor of Zeus and Pelops, not Venus [Aphrodite].
- The theory that Gothic architecture was designed by the Templars to record the secret of the sacred feminine: historians note that Templars were not involved with European cathedrals of the time, which were generally commissioned by their own bishops.
- The depiction of the Templars as builders, guild-founders and secret-bearers: Templar historians point to abundant evidence that Templars did not themselves engage in building projects or found guilds for masons, and that they were largely illiterate men unlikely to know "sacred geometry," purportedly handed down from the pyramids' builders. However they did build large fortresses. And the Masonic order, founded in the eighteenth century, did seek to rewrite the history of the Templars in this respect.
- The portrayal of the Priory of Sion as an ancient organization: While the Priory is a genuine organization claiming to have been the Templars' driving force, most historians suspect that the present Priory of Sion originated in the aftermath of World War II, on the grounds that it was registered with the French government in 1956, and only became widely-known in 1962 (see Pierre Plantard). However, the present Priory claims to be continuous with the mediaeval Priory of Sion, a small community of Augustinian canons founded between 1090 and 1112 to serve a church on the supposed site of the Last Supper, and eventually suppressed by Louis XIII in 1619.
- The suggestion that all churches used by the Templars were built round, and that roundness was considered an insult by the Church: Some churches used by the Templars were not round, and those that were round were so in tribute to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Moreover, there are quite a number of round churches, including Bramante's Tempietto, built for Pope Julius II on the site of St. Peter's crucifixion. The circle was thought to be holy and perfect by many Christian thinkers.
- The contention that the Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci as a self-portrait and that its title refers to the Egyptian gods Amon and Isis: It is uncertain who was the historical Mona Lisa; but there have been persuasive sources pointing to her being Lisa Gherardini or, less probably, Isabella of Aragon. However, other researchers have concluded, using "morphing" techniques, that the resemblance to Leonardo is striking (Lillian Schwartz of Bell Labs and Digby Quested of the Maudsley Hospital in London). The title was not chosen by Leonardo, and it was not applied to the painting until the nineteenth century. "Mona" is a contraction of "madonna" (meaning 'lady' or 'madam'). Lisa is the name of the most likely subject of the painting. In any case, it is more commonly known as "La Gioconda" in Italian (Lisa Gherardini's married surname).
- The book matter-of-factly states that Leonardo Da Vinci was a homosexual. While there are clues about Da Vinci's personal life that may form a basis for this argument, it is not conclusively known to be a fact, nor do scholars agree upon this.
- The depiction of Opus Dei as a monastic order which is the Pope's "personal prelature". In fact, there are no monks in Opus Dei, which has primarily lay membership. The term personal prelature does not refer to a special relationship to the Pope. It means an institution in which the jurisdiction of the prelate is not linked to a territory but over persons, wherever they be. However, members of Opus Dei do practice mortification of the flesh, as has been a Christian tradition since at least St Anthony in the second century AD.
- The contention that the first version of Leonardo's The Virgin of the Rocks was rejected by the church because of its heretical content. There is no evidence for this claim. There is, however, evidence for a lengthy legal dispute over payments and expenses.
- Mary Magdalene is said to have been labelled a whore by the Church (Chapters 58 and 60). This derives from a common linkage initiated by Pope Gregory I between figures mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, chapters 7 and 8, one of whom is Mary Magdalene, described as a victim of demonic possession: "Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth" (Luke 8:2). Gregory equated her with Mary of Bethany and an unnamed female "sinner". Later, Mary was also equated with the "woman taken in adultery" in the Gospel of John, increasingly connecting Mary with sexual sins. It is true that Catholic tradition has tended to defend these integrations in contrast to other Christian traditions (see the Catholic Encyclopedia ), However the "promotion" of adultery into prostitution arises from Mary's role as patron saint of repentant sinful women.  The euphemistic term "magdalen" has been used to refer to repentant prostitutes because of this (see Magdalen Asylum), becoming attached to Mary herself.
- The suggestion that the Tetragrammaton is "an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name of Eve, Havah" (Chapter 74). It is generally believed that the four Hebrew letters that form the Tetragrammaton (Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay) literally translate to 'To be, to become" which are believed to represent the name of the God of Israel.
- Venus is depicted as visible in the east shortly after sunset (Chapter 105), which is an astronomical impossibility. This was corrected to "west" in some later editions, like 28th printing of British paperback, ISBN 0552149519 and apparently current printings of the US hardback. .
- Brown characterized the cycle of Venus as "trac[ing] a perfect pentacle across the ecliptic sky every four years", and from there claimed this as the basis for the four-year Olympic period (Chapter 6). The fact is, Venus completes five cycles in eight years. , a fact well known to the ancient Greeks and Mayans. This eight-year cycle is one of the factors in predicting the transit of Venus. This was changed to "eight years" in some later editions such as the British paperback and at least the April 2003 printing of the US hardback - .
- The assertion that "left" is associated with terms such as "sinister" and other negative overtones because of "the Church's defamation"; as a matter of fact, such associations are older than Christianity and also exist in other cultures, such as Hinduism (for instance, "left hand tantra"). Also, the claim that "left brain" colloquially means irrational, emotional mind is false; the left hemisphere of the brain is associated with rational, male functioning.
- The claim that the early Israelites worshipped the goddess Shekinah as the equal to Yahweh. In fact the term Shekinah (derived from Hebrew for "dwelling") does not appear in early Judaism at all, but was used in later Talmudic Judaism to refer to the "dwelling", or presence of God among his people. It also came to be interpreted as the more "homely" or feminine aspects of God.
- One of the cryptex clues claims that the Knights Templar worshipped a pre-Christian fertility god (a horned god) named Baphomet. However, this name is only known from records of the Templars' trial on charges of witchcraft, and is most probably a corruption of the name Mohammed.
The popularity of the book, and widespread acceptance of it as being factually correct, has created controversy in Christian communities, which has resulted in the publication of various books on the subject. Among others, this includes Steve Kellmeyer's Fact and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code and The Da Vinci Hoax by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel.
Much of the problem of the book is its readiness to assert as fact opinions on debates that have not been resolved by scholars. And for many, because of its claim to fact, the line where 'fact' ends and fiction begins (as the novel is certainly fiction) is blurred. This, combined with the controversial religious opinions that combat or offend the communities discussed, has caused a great deal of debate and partisan material to erupt.
There have been widespread criticisms of the book as reflecting antiquated Protestant calumnies against Catholicism (eg on the BBC's Sunday programme on 24 July 2005), or more general anticlerical traditions. On March 15, 2005, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa and former second-in-command of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, castigated the book and those who sell it on grounds of anti-Catholic bias. "This seems like a throwback to the old anti-clerical pamphlets of the 1800s," he said. It was a "gross and absurd" distortion of history, full of "cheap lies." The Archbishop also made a strong defense of Opus Dei, the Catholic organization which is a major target of the book.
Regarding the style of this book and others, Brown has also been criticised. In The Da Vinci Code there are many characters that evidently reflect US stereotypes of Europeans, leading Europeans in particular to attack Brown's offhand clichés and 'tired stereotypes'.
Facts and mythology behind the book
- Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian artist
- Louvre, Paris art gallery
- Rosslyn Chapel, Scottish medieval collegiate church
- Mary Magdalene
- Opus Dei, Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church
- Knights Templar
- Priory of Sion - Nautonnier
Motion picture adaptation
- Richard Abanes, The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code (Harvest House Publishers, 2004). ISBN 0736914390
- Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, & Henry Lincoln, Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Dell, 1983). ISBN 0440136482
- Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, & Henry Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy (Dell, 1989). ISBN 0440203198
- Darrell Bock and Francis Moloney, Breaking the Da Vinci Code (Nelson Books, 2004). ISBN 0785260463
- Dan Burstein (ed), Secrets of the Code (CDS Books, 2004). ISBN 1593150229
- Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum (Ballantine Press, 1990). ISBN 0345368754
- Bart D. Ehrman, Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code (Oxford University Press, 2004). ISBN 0195181409
- Bernard Hamilton, Puzzling Success: Specious history, religious bigotry and the power of symbols in The Da Vinci Code (Times Literary Supplement no 5332 10 June 2005, pages 20-21)
- Hank Hanegraaff and Paul Maier, Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004). ISBN 1414302797
- Steve Kellmeyer, Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code (Bridegroom Press, 2004). ISBN 0971812861
- Karen L. King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle (Polebridge Press, 2003) ISBN 0944344585
- Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel, The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius Press, 2004). ISBN 1586170341
- Mark Oxbrow and Ian Robertson, Rosslyn and the Grail (Mainstream Publishing, 2005). ISBN 1845960769
- Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Templar Revelation (Touchstone, 1998). ISBN 0684848910
- Margaret Starbird, The Goddess in the Gospels (Bear & Company, 1998). ISBN 187918155X
- Margaret Starbird, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (Bear & Company, 1993). ISBN 1879181037
- Amy Welborn, De-Coding Da Vinci (Our Sunday Visitor, 2004). ISBN 1592761011
- Ben Witherington III, The Gospel Code (InterVarsity Press, 2004). ISBN 083083267X
- Sony Pictures Movies official movie site
- The Da Vinci Code Movie Blog: A daily weblog devoted exclusively to the Da Vinci Code movie
- www.Da Vinci Code Film.com : The Da Vinci Code Movie - The Online Journals
- The Da Vinci Code Mysteries: The Un-Official Startpage
- The Da Vinci Code and Rosslyn Chapel: Details of Rosslyn and the Grail forthcoming book, Cracking the Da Vinci Code book, and events in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, August 2005.
- The Priory's Legacy: Unofficial discussion forum about the Da Vinci Code, and other Dan Brown Novels.
- DaVinci Code Research Guide From About.com
- Signs for the Times (Guardian review)
- The Da Vinci Con (New York Times review)
- Breaking The Da Vinci Code (Christianity Today response)
- Da Vinci Code Information (Bridegroom Press response)
- Dan Brown and His Books of Renown
- Pain: The Da Vinci Code versus the Passion
- Why the Pagans are Correct
- Dismantling The Da Vinci Code (Crisis Magazine response)
- Information About Da Vinci Code Movie
- Cracking the Anti-Catholic Code - Part One, Part Two (Envoy response)
- The Da Vinci Code, the Catholic Church and Opus Dei (Official Opus Dei response)
- The Da Vinci Code: Hoodwinking the World (LifeSite response)
- SparkNotes: The Da Vinci Code Study guide with chapter summaries and analysis
- The Da Vinci Code debunking articles at priory-of-sion.com
- Book reviews on Dan Brown's website
- The Da Vinci Code: Fact and Fiction : Discussion of the history behind the claims made in the Da Vinci Code - generally sceptical of Dan Brown's credibility.
- The Da Vinci Grail : Newly discovered Holy Grail in the Last Supper, missed in the Da Vinci Code.
- Codex Bezae and the Da Vinci Code Source of one of the alleged parchments found.
- The Virtual Da Vinci Code A virtual tour CD showing the key locations featured in the book
- Skeptics Society: Book Review: Tim Callahan: The Royal Myth of the Da Vinci Code
———————————The one thing I despise is the assumption we all believe in “Jesus” - or that we don't know how bi Leonardo was ... ala CHIAROSCURO: PRIVATE LIVES OF DA VINCI —
Go get this at Mile High Comics - Sparky
PS - I know I'm a windbag - but we do want your comments!