>Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code, is coming to a theater near you on May 19, 2006. The movie will be released worldwide in May and it promises to become the blockbuster movie of the year. The Da Vinci Code was directed by Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon.
As it has been widely reported, Dan Brown won a court case in England a few days ago, and the publicity that came out of this litigation assures the success of the movie.
Those who have read The Da Vinci Code know that the plot of the book is fascinating. It has a good plot and readers are challenged to read the story in order to discover the secrets revealed in the book. However, it is the religious premise of the book that is getting plenty of publicity. The debate focuses on whether the information about the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is truth or heresy.
The plot of the book is focused on a supposed conspiracy by the Catholic Church. The conspiracy begins to be unveiled when Robert Langdon, a professor at Harvard University, tries to solve the death of Jacques Saunière, a curator at the Louvre Museum. In the process of solving the murder, Langdon discovers the truth about the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Christian scholars have criticized the book as inaccurate and as an attack on the Gospel and the truths of Christianity. The Catholic Church has also condemned The Da Vinci Code because of the negative portrayal of the Church throughout the book. The book implies that the Church is covering up the secret of the bloodline of Jesus and the (assumed) fact that the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are alive today.
Below, I have compiled a series of links that will help you follow the debate about The Da Vinci Code.
For a trailer of the movie, click here.
For the official site of The Da Vinci Code the movie, which includes two trailers of the movie plus other features, click here.
For a summary of the book and information about the movie, click here.
For a Catholic answer to the issues raised by The Da Vinci Code, click here.
For a very conservative criticism of The Da Vinci Code, click here
For a Baptist perspective of The Da Vinci Code, click here.
For an article published by Christianity Today that contains a guide for discussion, click here.
When Christians read The Da Vinci Code or watch the movie, they must remember three things. First, The Da Vinci Code is only a novel, a work of fiction. In works of fiction, the authors take some liberties with the truth. The author of this book takes many liberties with the truth.
Second, even though Dan Brown claims that several facts in the book are true, the true facts that form the framework of the book are used to support a work of fiction. For instance, the fact that Jesus existed cannot be denied, but all the stories and tales developed around the person of Jesus are only the work of a very creative imagination.
Finally, the speculation about Jesus and Mary Magdalene is only that, speculation. There is not one shred of evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were ever married, that they had children, and that their descendants are alive today.
Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus died, that he rose again, and that he ascended to the Father. Any attack on these basic doctrines of Christianity is a direct attack on Christianity.
The beautiful picture of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci reflects the creative mind of a man who was indeed considered to be a genius. However, what is pictured in the Last Supper is also the creation of a human being. When one looks at that picture, one sees what one wants to see. The real truth behind the Lord’s Supper is found in the Gospels, not in Leonardo da Vinci.
The church has been maligned over the centuries, but it has survived. The teachings of Christianity have been attacked in many different ways but they remain true to this day. The Da Vinci Code may malign the church and attack the teachings of Christianity, but in a few years from now The Da Vinci Code will be a relic of the past, in the same way that the Gnostic Library, the writings that gave birth to some of the ideas behind The Da Vinci Code, was lost and forgotten.
Claude F. Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary