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Is Dan Brown Right?

 

Does the Da Vinci Code Reveal New Truth About Christianityís Origins?

 

By Eric V. Snow

 

 

Although Dan Brown asserts the basic historical facts about Christianityís origins in his best selling novel The Da Vinci Code are indeed true, this raw self-assertion can be readily refuted.His basic approach consists of declaring, like the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, that Jesus Christ was married, had children, and a line of descent that lasted many centuries past His human lifetime.Brown maintains that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, which is an assertion that has absolutely no support from the four canonical gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

 

Even the apocryphal gospels, which the church didn't recognize as inspired, which Brown leans upon, never assert Mary Magdalene was married.One fragmentary "gospel," the "Gospel of Philip," has a spot where it appears, although the text has to be partially reconstructed, that it says Jesus often kissed Mary Magdalene.But this was written some two centuries after the time of Jesus, and can't be seen as reliable intrinsically.Another "gospel," the second century A.D. text, the "Gospel of Mary Magdala," portrays her sympathetically in a conflict with the apostles.It says that Jesus had supposedly more love more her, as shown by giving her an additional revelation.Here again the problem is whether we're going to put full belief in Gnostic texts written after the four canonical gospels were written.(The Gnostics were an ancient Roman religious/philosophical movement that generally claimed that only a small group of people has special knowledge necessary for salvation and that the world was evil, but spirit was good (dualism)).†† A priori (before experience), why shouldn't skeptics eye these gospels as dubious as the original four?Actually, what is written down closer in time to the events in question is normally more reliable than what is written centuries later, which is a point that favors the four canonical gospels.

 

Although Brown's novel asserts a Jewish teacher would normally marry, and therefore it's strange Jesus didn't marry, we know there were Jews who made a point of not marrying in the first century.In the same century Jesus lived, the first century A.D., the ascetic, rather monastic sect called the Essenes was so rigorous in their practices that they avoided marriage.Similarly, Paul, at least during the time he was a Christian apostle, didn't marry either (see I Cor. 9:5, 7:8).Although the Gospels in the New Testament mention Jesus' family, such as his mother, his brothers, and his (step-)father, they never mention His having a wife.

 

The novel by Brown works up an absurd conspiracy theory that must warm the hearts of feminists as well as all Unitarians.The Deity of Christ was recognized in the New Testament repeatedly long before the time of the Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicea.(See these texts as evidence:John 1:1-2, 14, 8:58, 20:28, 5:18; 10:30, 33; Titus 2:13,Romans 9:5, I Tim. 3:16; Acts 20:28, Col. 2:9; Rev. 1:8, Hebrews 1:8).Furthermore, the early Catholic writers before the time of Nicea in 325 A.D. repeatedly recognized Jesus as being God, so it wasn't as if Constantine got the bishops at this council to overthrow a longstanding consensus in the church against Jesus being God.The idea that God uses a feminine persona to relate to His creation is an unscriptural falsehood that owes much at least obliquely to the pagan worship of goddesses as well as an exaltation of feminist reasoning over the plain meaning of the Bible's text.True, God is actually neither male or female, like the angels (Luke 20:34-36).But if God wants to call Himself consistently a "He," we're in no position to criticize or change this way to relate to Him.

 

Other problems come up, such as pushing way back too far in history the organization called "The Priory of Sion."A group with this name registered in France in 1956 with four officers, but it may have ceased to exist as of 1984 after the Grand Master resigned.Tying a group called the Order of Sion to the Knights of Templar in the medieval period is a mighty hard stretch.It also appears that a set of documents (Les Dossiers Secrets) that contain an alleged genealogy traced from Jesus' Merovingian line to the Habsburgs and other families were out and out frauds.Supposedly these documents were suppressed by the Church, but that's nonsense.This reality has yet to really catch up with Brown's book on this side of the Atlantic, although the French figured this out a while back.

 

In order to really investigate this issue properly, people have to read books that deal with the second and third century religious/philosophical movement called Gnosticism and how the canon of Scripture was chosen.Ronald Nash's The Gospel and the Greeks is a useful book for showing that pagan thought, whether from the mystery religions of Rome (such as Mithraism) or the Gnostics, didn't determine Christian doctrine and ceremonies.Such books as Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter present the other side of the story concerning many of the historical "facts" Brown supposedly cites.The amazing popularity of Dan Brown's book (I believe he's sold about 9 or 10 million copies) is a testament to how religious falsehood, attractively dressed up in a page-turning thriller, can sell far more copies than books proclaiming the truth, which may not be quite so "exciting" to people who have been raised to believe in some kind of Christianity passively.My Web site, www.lionofjudah1.org, has documents on the "apologetics" and "book" pages that also deal with Gnosticism and which defend the Bible, if you wish to know more.As Christians, we should reject Brown's book as rubbish, but knowing how it's rubbish requires some work, alas!

 

Click here to access essays that defend Christianity:/apologetics.html

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Does Islam cause terrorism?Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Moral Equivalency Applied Islamic History 0409.htm

Is the Bible Godís Word?Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Is the Bible the Word of God.htm

Why does God Allow Evil?Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm

Is Christian teaching from ancient paganism? /Bookhtml/Paganism influence issue article Journal 013003.htm

Which is right?:Judaism or Christianity? /Apologeticshtml/Is Christianity a Fraud vs Conder Round 1.htm

/Apologeticshtml/Is Christianity a Fraud vs Conder Round 2.htm

Should Godís existence be proven? /Apologeticshtml/Should the Bible and God Be Proven Fideism vs WCG.htm

Does the Bible teach blind faith?Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Gospel of John Theory of Knowledge.htm

 

Links to elsewhere on this Web site:†† /apologetics.html†† /book.html†† /doctrinal.html/essays.html/links.html /sermonettes.html/webmaster.html†††† For the home page, click here:††† /index.html