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#41 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 09:49 PM

I read The Da Vinci Code yesterday and today (but mostly yesterday) on the last leg of my trip home from Cornerstone. I have no comments on the style, per se, but the book was definitely a page-turner -- it drops a new riddle or puzzle or plot twist on you every 20-25 pages or so, and it was enough to keep me reading, reading, reading. The fact that the entire story unfolds in a single 24-hour period (or less!) and the fact that the chapters are pretty short also gives the book a fast-paced feel.

I'll have more comments on it later, no doubt, once I've finished slogging through all the other threads on this board.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 08 July 2004 - 09:50 PM.


#42 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 03:48 PM

Okay, now I'm just over a week overdue for getting this book back to the library, so I had better post some comments on it while I can ...

First, this is a very Catholic story. Perhaps anti-Catholic would be a better term. But it's basically a Catholic story in the same way that Fundamentalism is a modern movement, and not quite an anti-modern movement -- that is, the book assumes a Catholic view of history, or a Catholic set of presuppositions, and then proceeds to attack Catholicism from within that matrix. There is no reference here whatsoever to the Orthodox Church -- and, given the book's obsession with sex, the "sacred feminine" and the supposed hang-ups of the church thereof, it is perhaps significant that there is no reference to what some would consider the Eastern church's more balanced take on sexuality. (E.g., Orthodox priests can be married, whereas Catholic priests cannot, with rare exceptions.)

Second, the idea that the bones of Mary Magdalene would undo centuries of church dogma and tradition if they were ever found is ludicrous, since as far as the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are concerned, THEY ALREADY HAVE HER RELICS. Indeed, my priest -- who named one of his daughters after Magdalene -- tells me he has a piece of Mary Magdalene in his home. Freaky. (I don't know about Catholics, but I know the Orthodox were amused by all the hoo-ha recently over the so-called "James ossuary" -- from their point of view, who cares about a box that MIGHT have contained the bones of James when they already have the bones of James themselves?)

Third, I am curious as to why the characters in this book make such a big deal about the bones of Mary Magdalene when it seems the book is also trying to make Jesus out to be just a regular guy who married and had kids, etc. If the bones of these historical figures matter, then where are HIS bones? And if Jesus was just a regular guy, then why bother preserving ANYBODY'S bones and making up all these weird rituals and secret societies to protect and preserve them?

Okay, those are the biggies -- now let's see what other items come up in my notes ...

Things I know for a fact are bogus:

p. 234: One character declares: "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 Judean desert. And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi. In addition to telling the true Grail story, these documents speak of Christ's ministry in very human terms. Of course, the Vatican, in keeping with their tradition of misinformation, tried very hard to suppress the release of these scrolls." Wrong on virtually every count. Well, okay, the Nag Hammadi scrolls WERE found in 1945. But the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered sometime between the 1930s and 1947; there are NO gospels in the Dead Sea Scrolls; the Vatican has not suppressed any of these Scrolls, but rather, Catholic priests and scholars have been very involved in disseminating and interpreting them; and even these apocryphal gospels, such as the Secret Book of James, tend to depict things which allegedly happened AFTER the Resurrection, which suggests that their Jesus was not as merely human as Dan Brown's character would have us believe.

p. 244: The idea that Mary Magdalene was turned into a prostitute as part of "a smear campaign launched by the early Church" leads me to wonder exactly how Dan Brown defines "early Church." Mary Magdalene is NOT a prostitute in the Orthodox tradition, so I assume this tradition is a considerably late development, and possibly dates to some point after the Great Schism in the 11th century.

p. 245: Once again, a character refers to the Dead Sea and Nag Hammadi scrolls as "the earliest Christian records" -- and I repeat, there are NO Christian documents in the DSS (and the Nag Hammadi scrolls are ALSO much later than the canonical gospels, even if they may contain earlier elements that did not make it into the canon).

p. 247: Sophie assumes that a text called "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene" must be "a gospel . . . in Mary Magdalene's words", and no one challenges her on this.

p. 256: One character claims that a treasure trove which includes the bones of Mary Magdalene and a bunch of secret documents ALSO includes "the legendary 'Q' Document -- a manuscript that even the Vatican admits they believe exists. Allegedly, it is a book of Jesus' teachings, possibly written in His own hand." Rubbish. The 'Q' hypothesis is just that -- a hypothesis, not a document -- which some scholars proposed a century or two ago to explain why, if Matthew and Luke borrowed so much of their material from Mark, they could also have so much material in common with each other that was NOT in Mark. 'Q' refers to the common source or sources which are NOT Mark. That's it.

p. 435: I believe the hexagram was adopted as an Israelite symbol not by David and Solomon but by other Jews many, many, many years later. (And let's not get started on p. 446's assertion that the hexagram represents the fusion of masculine and feminine...)

Things I strongly suspect are bogus:

p. 125: "During three hundred years of witch hunts, the Church burned at the stake an astounding five million women" (emphasis in the original). I suspect these numbers are heavily inflated, and what's more, I suspect a number of the witches executed were men.

p. 145: "Langdon was always surprised how few Christians who gazed upon 'the crucifix' realized their symbol's violent history was reflected in its very name: 'cross' and 'crucifix' came from the Latin verb cruciare -- to torture." Um, well, okay, maybe most Christians don't know Latin very well, but I think most Christians DO realize that a "crucifix" is an object that depicts someone being "crucified", and only an idiot would be unable to figure out that crucifixion was pretty violent. Dan Brown's point here is that there is ANOTHER cross, like the one on the Swiss flag, where the four arms are of equal length, which I guess is supposed to be less violent somehow; he says THIS cross "predated Christianity by fifteen hundred years," which may or may not be true, but I would like to know in what context, and whether those older crosses have ANY connection to the Swiss ones; and I would also point out that some basic shapes are so, well, basic that it's no surprise they come up in more than one context.

p. 232: I rather doubt it took Constantine to "shift" the Christian holy day from "the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday" to "the pagan's veneration day of the sun." Does not Pliny, or some similar early secular source, describe how Christians meet for worship on Sunday?

p. 303: How could ANY secret society consider English a "pure language" just because it was not "rooted in Latin" and therefore an arm of Vatican propaganda!?

p. 309: What is Langdon on about when he says "early Jewish tradition involved ritualistic sex. In the Temple, no less" (emphasis in the original)? Who are these "priestesses" or "hierodules" to whom he refers? I also highly doubt that "YHWH" stems from an "androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah."

p. 390: I rather doubt the word "minstrel" reflects the idea that the original troubadors were "the traveling servants or 'ministers' of the Church of Mary Magdalene, using music to disseminate the story of the sacred feminine among the common folk."

Things I want to fact-check:

p. 21: Did President Mitterand really request that the new glass pyramid outside the Louvre be made of "exactly 666 panes of glass"?

p. 24: How credible is the Opus Dei Awareness Network?

p. 45: Did Da Vinci really intend the circle around The Vitruvian Man to be "a feminine symbol of protection" and thus for that picture to be a symbol of "male and female harmony"?

pp. 159-160: There's a summary of the history of the Knights Templar which includes such claims as: (1) Pope Innocent II issued "an unprecedented papal bull that afforded the Knights Templar limitless power and declared them 'a law unto themselves'"; (2) the Templars "began extending credit to bankrupt royals and charging interest in return, thereby establishing modern banking and broadening their wealth and influence still further"; (3) Pope Clement V and France's King Philippe IV hatched a conspiracy to quash the Templars, and the Pope "issued secret sealed orders to be opened simultaneously by his soldiers all across Europe on Friday, October 13 of 1307," thus giving us "Friday the 13th"; (4) and on that single fateful day, "countless Knights" were captured, tortured, and killed.

p. 206: Did parchments called Les Dossiers Secrets really turn up in Paris's Bibliotheque Nationale in 1975, identifying Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo and Jean Cocteau as Grand Masters of the Priory of Zion, an organization of secretive Eyes Wide Shut-style sex-ritualists founded in 1099?

p. 232: Do the haloes in Christian icons really come from the "sun disks" in pagan Egyptian symbols? Some of the claims here begin to enter wacky Tom Harpur territory.

p. 248: I don't feel the need to fact-check the idea that Mary Magdalene was of royal descent and a Benjaminite (thus making her a descendant of King Saul, just as Jesus was a descendant of King David, I guess), but I AM curious to know where this idea comes from.

p. 253: This is the ONLY page in the entire book in which Dan Brown even HINTS at what his sources might be -- and all he does is rattle off four book titles, without giving any authors' names. The fourth title, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, I do recognize as genuine, but I don't know anything about The Templar Revelation, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar or The Goddess in the Gospels.

p. 266: Is the reference to a "new Pope" who would never condone assassination, and who frowns upon Opus Dei, explained in the previous Langdon novel(s)?

p. 316: Does the depiction of the Devil as horned really go back to some "horned fertility god" known as Baphomet, and the Church's efforts to depict him as evil?

p. 319: What basis is there for Dan Brown's claim that the references in Jeremiah to a city of Sheshach are actually coded references to Babel, decodable via the Atbash Cipher?

pp. 326-327: So ... how many of the names in this list of Priory of Sion Grand Masters are the names of actual people? (The ones I recognize are in bold.) And what evidence is there to link ANY of them to real people? Jean de Gisors (1188-1220), Marie de Saint-Clair (-1266), Guillaume de Gisors (-1307), Edouard de Bar (-1336), Jeanne de Bar (-1351), Jean de Saint-Clair (-1366), Blance d'Evreux (-1398), Nicolas Flamel (-1418), Rene d'Anjou (-1480), Iolande de Bar (-1483), Sandro Botticelli (-1510), Leonardo da Vinci (-1519), Connetable de Bourbon (-1527), Ferdinand de Gonzaque (-1575), Louis de Nevers (-1595), Robert Fludd (-1637), J. Valentin Andrea (-1654), Robert Boyle (-1691), Isaac Newton (-1727), Charles Radclyffe (-1746), Charles de Lorraine (-1780), Maximilian de Lorraine (-1801), Charles Nodier (-1844), Victor Hugo (-1885), Claude Debussy (-1918), Jean Cocteau (-1963). I note that some of these people appear to have had very, very long tenures. Almost improbably long, you might say -- as though someone couldn't be bothered to make up more bogus names than necessary.

p. 339: Is there really a "Temple Church" built by the Templars on "Inner Temple Lane" just off "Fleet Street" in London? And is it really round, and thus essentially "pagan"?

p. 390: Is there really a link between Wagner's Parsifal and the alleged bloodline of Jesus and Mary?

p. 434: Is there any basis for Dan Brown's assertion that Rosslyn Chapel in England was built by the Templars as "a shrine to all faiths ... to all traditions ... and, above all, to nature and the goddess"? (Let alone that Rosslyn, or "Rose Line", refers to "the ancestral lineage of Mary Magdalene"?)

Odd things in general:

p. 126: A reference to the Hopi word "koyanisquatsi"? And a link between this word and the idea that the "obliteration of the sacred feminine in modern life" was responsible for "an unstable situation marked by testosterone-fueled wars, a plethora of misogynistic societies, and a growing disrespect for Mother Earth"? Huh? Respect for Mother Earth is on the increase, last I checked, and some of the most misogynistic societies out there could hardly be called "modern". The reference here to "koyaanisqatsi" (as the word is spelled in one of my offical five favorite movies of all time), along with his references to The Last Temptation of Christ and so on, smells to me like a lame attempt on the writer's part to drag as many pop-culture references as he can to validate his shaky thesis.

p. 163: Langdon's book editor says to him: "You're a Harvard historian, for God's sake, not a pop schlockmeister looking for a quick buck. Where could you possibly find enough credible evidence to support a theory like this?" Is Dan Brown anticipating his critics?

pp. 262-263: Gadzooks, Dan Brown even brings Disney cartoons like Sleeping Beauty (the Princess is code-named "Rose"! ooh! aah!) and The Little Mermaid into the picture. ("Langdon held up his Mickey Mouse watch and told her that Walt Disney had made it his quiet life's work to pass on the Grail story to future generations. . . . When Langdon had first seen The Little Mermaid, he had actually gasped aloud when he noticed that the painting in Ariel's underwater home was none other than seventeenth-century Georges de la Tour's The Penitent Magdalene -- a famous homage to the banished Mary Magdalene -- fitting decor considering the movie turned out to be a ninety-minute collage of blatant symbolic references to the lost sanctity of Isis, Eve, Pisces the fish goddess, and, repeatedly, Mary Magdalene. The Little Mermaid's name, Ariel, was synonymous with 'the Holy City besieged.' Of course, the Little Mermaid's flowing red hair was certainly no coincidence either.")

p. 310: Why is it only the men who have to regard sex as a "mystical, spiritual act"? Isn't the very notion of a "sacred feminine" somehow ITSELF sexist, since it is basically a form of religion that defines femininity from a male point of view?

#43 John Drew

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 07:34 PM

QUOTE (Baal_T'shuvah @ May 23 2004 @ 03:41 AM)

And therein lies my problem.  It's too simple.  This book is such an easy read, that I'm betting it  doesn't provoke much thought from the average reader once they've put it down.  And it is because of its simplicity that I don't believe the average reader is going to feel compelled to do much research into the history that inspired this story.


Peter, I hope you don't define yourself as an "average reader"... because your last post completely dispels my previous thoughts about this book and those who have read it. tongue.gif


#44 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:20 PM

Baal_T'shuvah wrote:
: Peter, I hope you don't define yourself as an "average reader" . . .

Nah, I'm a Bible history geek -- nothing "average" about that. smile.gif

I'm also a religion-and-pop-culture reporter of sorts, so when a novel comes along that makes waves like this one has, I kind of feel obliged to check out its claims.

I haven't gone back and re-read my post, but I suspect you'll find most of the things I'm SURE are bogus in this book relate to the first century or three of church history, whereas all the medieval and modern stuff I am not so sure about.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 30 July 2004 - 08:23 PM.


#45 CrimsonLine

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:51 PM

Peter, I'm sure you know, but there are a number of books out now that take The Da Vinci Code and go through it chapter by chapter debunking its claims. I'm sure any one of them will have answers to the questions left unanswered for you.

I haven't read any of them, but one is by Darrel Bock, and another is by Ben Witherington III, both of whom are excellent scholars by anyone's lights.



#46 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 12:45 AM

Yeah, I'm aware that there's a veritable sub-genre of Da Vinci-bunking books out there now -- I just wanted to get my own reactions jotted down before I started looking at anyone else's.

#47 CrimsonLine

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 05:30 AM

A good policy.


#48 teresakayep

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 05:23 PM

Great write-up, Peter!

QUOTE
I am curious as to why the characters in this book make such a big deal about the bones of Mary Magdalene when it seems the book is also trying to make Jesus out to be just a regular guy who married and had kids, etc.  If the bones of these historical figures matter, then where are HIS bones?  And if Jesus was just a regular guy, then why bother preserving ANYBODY'S bones and making up all these weird rituals and secret societies to protect and preserve them?


Yes, I had wondered about this myself. If Jesus was just a regular guy who taught some great things, why all this drive to "kneel before the bones of" his wife? Should we not then be kneeling before the bones of the wives of other great men of history?

QUOTE
p. 232: I rather doubt it took Constantine to "shift" the Christian holy day from "the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday" to "the pagan's veneration day of the sun."  Does not Pliny, or some similar early secular source, describe how Christians meet for worship on Sunday?


I don't know of any secular sources, but I believe there are some first or second century Christian sources that mention Sunday worship (I believe Justin Martyr does--and possibly the Didache.) Of course, Dan Brown might assert that the Christian sources are not to be trusted, but then I would have to ask why trust the Nag Hammadi texts (which do not altogether support Brown's hypothesis) but not other extra-biblical sources. What makes the Nag Hammadi texts intrinsically more trustworthy?

QUOTE
p. 309: What is Langdon on about when he says "early Jewish tradition involved ritualistic sex. In the Temple, no less" (emphasis in the original)?  Who are these "priestesses" or "hierodules" to whom he refers? 


I don't know who or what Brown is referring to here, but there is certainly Biblcial evidence in Kings and Chronicles that the Jews did at times stray from proper worship of God. Whether it went as far as what Brown describes is not clear.

QUOTE
I also highly doubt that "YHWH" stems from an "androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah."


Me, too. His contention is made weaker by his assertion that Jah+Havah=Jehovah, a term that he says is supplanted later by YHWH. MMMMkay--well, Jehovah is a much more recent name than YHWH, and the name Jehovah actually springs from the name YHWH. But concern ourselves with historical facts when we can make wild assertions?

QUOTE
p. 253: This is the ONLY page in the entire book in which Dan Brown even HINTS at what his sources might be -- and all he does is rattle off four book titles, without giving any authors' names.  The fourth title, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, I do recognize as genuine, but I don't know anything about The Templar Revelation, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar or The Goddess in the Gospels.


What I gathered from Amazon.com is that they are very much in the same vein as Holy Blood, Holy Grail. One comment I've frequently made about Dan Brown is that he did excellent research--except for the fact that he used resources that were themselves poorly researched blink.gif

QUOTE
p. 310: Why is it only the men who have to regard sex as a "mystical, spiritual act"?  Isn't the very notion of a "sacred feminine" somehow ITSELF sexist, since it is basically a form of religion that defines femininity from a male point of view?


Indeed, the idea of "sacred feminine" as depicted in DVC is inherently sexist. Women are the means by which men have the sexual experience that draws them into the presences of God. A woman is revered as the vessel of Jesus's child. Women are little more than instruments of men, really (though there is some discussion of how Jesus tapped Mary Magdelene to lead the church).

Some of the other resources on the sacred feminine are more empowering for women than that, but they have other problems in that they tend to treat YWHH as a masculine God and posit the existence of a greater, older, more powerful Goddess. So DVC is not even a good introduction to the sacred feminine!

-Teresa


#49 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 09:43 PM

teresakayep wrote:
: What makes the Nag Hammadi texts intrinsically more trustworthy?

I suspect Brown would say those texts are earlier than the Christian gospels -- but I believe most scholars would agree that the manuscripts found at Nag Hammadi date to some point after Constantine's reign, which would thus open up the possibility that they, themselves, may have been influenced by anything that Constantine might have done.

BTW, given all the hubbub in this book over the "sacred feminine" and the centrality of Mary Magdalene and her descendants, it is remarkable that, e.g., the Gospel of Thomas, a Nag Hammadi text, includes one saying which declares that Heaven and Earth were made for the sake of JAMES, and another which says that Mary must become MALE in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

: I don't know who or what Brown is referring to here, but there is certainly Biblcial
: evidence in Kings and Chronicles that the Jews did at times stray from proper
: worship of God.

Definitely. But Brown seems to be suggesting that this ritualistic sex was somehow intrinsic to Jewish faith from the beginning, and was not a later, intermittent addition to it.

: Indeed, the idea of "sacred feminine" as depicted in DVC is inherently sexist.
: Women are the means by which men have the sexual experience that draws
: them into the presences of God.

Yeah, well put.

#50 teresakayep

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 08:19 AM


QUOTE
BTW, given all the hubbub in this book over the "sacred feminine" and the centrality of Mary Magdalene and her descendants, it is remarkable that, e.g., the Gospel of Thomas, a Nag Hammadi text, includes one saying which declares that Heaven and Earth were made for the sake of JAMES, and another which says that Mary must become MALE in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.


Yeah, I find that quite interesting. I've not done much reading on the Nag Hammadi texts, but the little bit I've done makes it clear to me that Brown (and/or the sources he consulted) pick and choose from those texts to support the ideas they like. Taken as a whole, these texts do not uniformly point to some egalitarian early church that's all about woman-power.

QUOTE
But Brown seems to be suggesting that this ritualistic sex was somehow intrinsic to Jewish faith from the beginning, and was not a later, intermittent addition to it.


Yep. Just because something happened at one time--or some Jews believed something--doesn't make it central to their faith. Brown seems to give unusual, intermittent occurences significance they just don't have.

--Teresa

Edited by teresakayep, 02 August 2004 - 09:00 AM.


#51 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 29 September 2004 - 10:36 AM

Link to the thread on the movie, which amazingly doesn't seem to have been posted here before. Also, FWIW, Ward Gasque reviews the anti-Da Vinci books here.

#52 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:33 AM

Da Vinci Code bestseller is plagiarism, authors claim
Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh claim that Dan Brown, the 39-year-old former English teacher from New Hampshire, has "lifted the whole architecture" of the research that they carried out for their non-fiction work The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which they co-wrote with Henry Lincoln. They claim that the similarities between the two books are such that they have no choice but to sue Random House, whose imprint Doubleday is the publisher of Brown's novel. . . . The only mention of their book is when the villain of The Da Vinci Code, an eccentric English historian called Sir Leigh Teabing, lifts a copy off his bookshelf and says: "To my taste, the authors made some dubious leaps of faith in their analysis, but their fundamental premise is sound." The name Leigh Teabing is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent, the authors point out, while his physical description -- he walks with the aid of crutches -- is allegedly based on the third author, Henry Lincoln, who walks with a limp.
Daily Telegraph, October 3

#53 Shantih

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 05:48 PM

QUOTE (Peter T Chattaway @ Oct 4 2004, 07:32 AM)
Da Vinci Code bestseller is plagiarism, authors claim

This article has one of my favourite quotes of the week in it:

QUOTE
"We are being lumped in with Dan Brown's work of fiction and that degrades the historical implication of our material," Baigent said. "It makes our work far easier to dismiss as a farrago of nonsense.


Which anyone who's read The Holy Blood... with its complete lack of proper historical evidence should find pretty hilarious. And, hey, if this lawsuit means the Holy Blood authors have to dredge up some evidence to support their flimsy assertions, and admit that they lifted many of their 'revelations' from a fifties book The Passover Plot then I'm all for it.

Phil.

#54 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 04:46 AM

An interesting new criticism of The Da Vinci Code from The Village Voice by author Curtis White:

QUOTE
...The Da Vinci Code's seriousness is deeply unserious. Its promise of truth is broken in the moment it is made. The culture's habit of finding "seriousness" acceptable only if offered by people who are finally not serious is yet another way that the culture makes certain that nothing alarming will come of our newfound interest in heretical ideas. On the other hand, this is all only as it should be in a culture that believes it can learn about theology by reading a pulp novel.

Ah, dysfunction.


#55 BethR

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 01:05 PM

Very good article from Village Voice, Darryl. Thanks for posting the link.

This past weekend I heard a "scholarly" paper that actually referred to DVC as serious evidence of the importance of pagan beliefs in the middle ages. The rest of the paper was pretty muddled, too.

#56 BethR

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 07:37 AM

Not yet. Just presented at a medieval studies conference. Papers may be submitted for publication in the organization's journal, but they're not guaranteed publication. I don't think this one would make it. At least, I hope not!

#57 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 06:56 PM

And now it comes in an illustrated edition! Full of paintings and photos of the buildings referred to in the article; it even includes a still from Disney's The Little Mermaid.

All to enhance the "authenticity" and "accuracy" of the book's claims, no doubt.

#58 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 04:28 PM

The Da Vinci crock
A fascinating conspiracy about Jesus transformed the cheesy thriller, "The Da Vinci Code," into a phenomenal bestseller. Too bad it comes from "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," a masterpiece of bogus history.
Salon.com, December 29

- - -

How's THIS for a provocative final paragraph:

The early Christian scriptures -- the earliest having been transcribed from oral accounts 30 years after Jesus' death, and some a century or more later -- were written by people who were the product of a patriarchal culture that subscribed to many values we abhor today -- slavery, for one. Most of Jesus' followers assumed the world as they knew it was about to end very soon, to be replaced by an earthly kingdom of heaven. They were wrong about that and a lot of other things. To try to recast them as people with egalitarian attitudes about the sexes is to imply that we can't improve our own society without some kind of precedent from them. This idea could be even sillier than anything in "The Da Vinci Code."

Well, okay, at least it dispels Dan Brown's silly idea that Jesus and his earliest followers were trying to push some post-modern concept of the "sacred feminine" ...

#59 BethR

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 12:14 PM

As if we needed it, more "Da Vinci Code" debunking, this time from the "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" (SCICOP):

Notes on a Strange World

The article investigates the founding of the "Priory of Sion," since it's one of the elements of the novel that is sort of historical. I rather like this quote from Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum which concludes the piece:
QUOTE
Believe that there is a secret and you will feel an initiate. It doesnít cost a thing. Create an enormous hope that can never be eradicated because there is no root. Ancestors that never were will never tell you that you betrayed them. Create a truth with fuzzy edges: when someone tries to define it, you repudiate him. Why go on writing novels? Rewrite history.



#60 mendokusei

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 08:28 AM

hello, i accidently stumbled upon this board whilst searching on google wether (spelling?) the Roman name for the Christian god was Eli or Iaweh or Ihova

and i noticed this discussion about the Da vinci code. and i couldn't help but register to point out something

first i admit that the DVc is fiction, it's clever fiction but fucition nonetheless. however,

it seems you are a bit misinformed about the foundations of christianity and to be honest i personally thought that Dan brown included lots of fiction but when it came to his RCC "bashing" he didn't say annything we didn't allready knew.

but now i see that some people really don't know how the new testament came to be.

please do not be offended just read and think about it. there is to much anger in this world caused by religion allready, (i'm not atheist by the way i am a baptized catholic tough i am concidering turning to the superstition/buddhism of my grandparents but thats not really relevant)

QUOTE
From it's formation, where the doctrine was clearly an amalgamation of not only Judeo-Christian, but also Greco-Roman and Egyptian pagan beliefs. It was a deft political move by Constantine I, preceded by Galerius and with the support of the eastern tetrarch Flavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus Licinius. In 313, The Edict of Milan was declared. In this edict, the Roman National religion (RNR) was disestablished at the official religion, and Christianity replaced it.

By Galerius's principate, it was pretty obvious that the Christian's weren't going away. Much of the empire was now Christian, and the hatred between pagan and Christian, and Christian and Christian was threatening to tear the Empire apart. Galerius and Constantine rightly saw that the only way to stabilise the Empire was to modify the Official Imperial religion.
However, They didn't get it right first time.
See the reaction of the Egyptians to the omission of a triune godhead. This nearly led to a rebellion of the Egyptian pagans. So the religion was modified again to accommodate their beliefs.

Over the long process of changing the religion of an empire, many of the dates of the Roman Pagan festivals were amalgamated into Christian belief and culture. See the dates of St. Valentines Day / Lupercalia and even the Christmas Day / Saturnalia correlation. Vestiges of the RNR can also be seen in many other aspects of RCC beliefs. The Nun / Vestal virgins is only one example. Even the position of the Pope is not biblical. The pontiff holds a lot in common with the Pontifex Maximus of the RNR. Especially the politico-religious aspects.

Also, it is interesting to note that the Pro-Christian policies did not mean Pro-Jewish policies. Constantine's politico-religious shift resulted in an increase of Anti-Semitism.
The RCC has been, since itís formation, a political power.

See Gibbonís Decline and FallÖ The monopoly that the Church has on itís early records means that they could write pretty much what they want.

Anyone who disputes the political role of the Church should look at the amount of power wielded in the period from the reign of Charlemagne to the Reformation. The Borgias dominated Papal states shows just how little religion had to do with the Papacy in these times, except as a was to keep followers. Even now, the Papacy is the richest and largest organisation in the world many times over. The power wielded by a pope is immense. If it gets into the wrong hands (as has happened many times before), there can be horrific consequences in the form of Wars, Crusades, Religious and Racial persecution and the toppling of governments.



i hope i have been able to inform you. whilst the basic idea of christianity is good the institution of christianity is built upon blood and deception and dan brown did get some things right in his book, he just wasn't saying annything new in those rare parts that where actually acurate


if i offended annyone i am verry sorry it is not my intention, i just wanted to inform you of a historical fact that you did not know of.