Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci Code - Faction Book?

Why are Christians so upset about a work of fiction that’s the most talked about book today, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code? If anything, they ought to be more worried about the Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a serious non-fiction book written by Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, and Richard Leigh, which was published about 25 years ago. The earlier book said exactly the same thing, or rather was the first to say what Da Vinci Code subsequently said in imitation. The Holy Blood & The Holy Grail enjoyed a wee more research and scholarship.
Dan Brown has never claimed anything other than his book is fiction, all for a jolly read about an adventure bash with a religious background. But the Catholic and other churches have been terribly upset. I suppose they must be sh*tting a bit because Dan Brown’s fictional novel has sold 40 million copies, while Holy Blood, Holy Grail has only been bought by weirdos like KTemoc, who loves alternative history or alternative myth.

Dominic Steele, an Anglican Minister in inner Sydney, explained why the Church has been worried. He termed Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code as a 'faction' book (note: not 'fiction'). He explained ‘faction’ book as one that has fictional foreground characters but actually paints a fact backdrop, so fiction plus fact backdrop = faction.

He said: “People have come and said, ‘How can you believe this stuff when Dan Brown says this?’ And so we ran a dinner for the Christian people to be better informed, but also for them to invite their friends whose interest in God, spirituality, Jesus, might have been raised by Brown.”

He continued: “The problem is, is that most people get their history not from reading history books. See, where do I get my history on World War II from?”

“I get my history on World War II from watching Saving Private Ryan. I get my history on China from reading Wild Swans. Do you know? We don't actually go read the history book on China, we read the 'faction' book, that has fictional foreground characters but actually paints a fact backdrop.”

“People are saying, no, no, no. Some things are true. I'm not prepared to stand by and have Brown or somebody else say it's not true that Jesus was divine.”

The most controversial revelation, an original claim in its time, by Holy Blood, Holy Grail, was the proposition Jesus married Mary Magdalene. In the Scripture Mary was alluded to as a reformed prostitute who was utterly devoted to Jesus, but not much was written about her.

I have no doubt that Dan Brown had based his book on the events described in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, even though a British court found in Brown's favour when 2 of the authors of the non-fiction book sued Brown for partial plagiarism (for 'lifting' the structure of its original book). It's just a mere coincidence that both books were published by Random House, who paid the legal fees of almst a million pounds for the losing side, but the publicity was worth every penny of that legal battle.

In Holy Blood, Holy Grail (don’t bother about Da Vinci Code as it’s just a fun-story) Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife. I have read a few other books on this relationship and have to agree that she was most likely Jesus’ spouse.

The early Christian Church saw it to their advantage to make Jesus celibate. But don’t forget, Jesus was a Jewish rabbi, and it’s sinful and socially not possible for a rabbi to be unmarried. An unmarried Jewish rabbi, whether divine son of god or ordinary human being, was just unnatural and unlikely, because bachelorhood was regarded as a transgression of the first mitzvah (divine commandment) of “be fruitful and multiply".

Then things changed in 1945, when at Nag Hammadi in southern Egypt, a hoard of ancient papyrus books were discovered, which turned out to be far more important than the better known Dead Sea Scrolls

The discovery includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip and the Acts of Peter. None of these texts was included in the Bible, because their content didn't conform to Christian doctrine, and therefore were referred to as apocryphal. More closer to the truth, they put Christian faith in an entirely new light that mainstream Christian organisations don't want to know.

With these apocryphal texts there was suddenly a new source of information about Mary Magdalene. She appears very frequently as one of the prominent disciples of Jesus. It shows that when Jesus was in discussion with his disciples, Mary Magdalene frequently asked intelligent questions, and alone understood Jesus, while the other disciples at times seem confused. In other words, she was the brightest and most favoured of the disciples, which of course wouldn't do for Peter's Rome and Paul's churches.

One of the most controversial text in the Gospel of Philip had been denounced by the church as heresy. In that text, the apostles witnessed Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene on the mouth. The apostles were horrified and at the same time jealous. They asked: "Why do you love her more than us?"

Jesus' response remains till today mysterious and enigmatic: "Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness."

No wonder the churches don't want to hear this.

Some nations like India made much ado about releasing it against strong protests from Catholics and political pressure from the Vatican. Others want the film edited by the censors, while many Christians have called for a boycott against Sony, the distributor of the film. In Australia a Catholic family-owner of the independent Entrance cinema in the New South Wales coast has banned the screening of Da Vinci Code at their place.

I am not sure whether I would even bother to see the movie as I have already read both books and of course found Holy Blood, Holy Grail far more interesting.

mary magdalene at crucifixion

But the best comment on the whole matter came from Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper. It said: “The hullabaloo surrounding the film Da Vinci Code somehow resembles the indignation raised in the Muslim world at the publication in European newspapers of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed at the beginning of this year.”

“With the novel Da Vinci Code and its adaptation for the screen, we are witnessing a real duel between religion and the secular world in the arena of contemporary western culture.”

mary magdalene

Maybe the thought of a high profile film propagating the notion of a Jesus married to a woman considered by Christians as a prostitute, must be to the Church and Christians highly blasphemous, indeed as highly blasphemous as the Muhammad caricatures had been to Muslims. Certainly food for thought for Westerners and Christians.


  1. Hello KTemoc and all,

    There is a way to verify the truth...

    There's a bit more to the story of the Vatican's reaction than most are yet aware of. Read my missive below to understand what they truly fear. It's not the DaVinci Code or Gospel of Judas per se, but the fact that people have been motivated to seek out the unequivocal truth about an age of deception, exactly when they expect me to appear. The Gospel of Judas and DaVinci Code controversies are allowing people to take new stock of the Vatican and the religions it has spawned.

    Remember, "I come as a thief..." ?

    Yes, the DaVinci Code is a novel. It is no more accurate as a literal version of history than is the New Testament. In other words, neither is the literal truth, which is a key fact of the story and ancient history. The primary sub-plot is about purposeful symbology being used to encode hidden meanings, exactly like the Bible and related texts. Arguing about whether the DaVinci Code, Gospel of Judas, or the Bible are accurate history is a Machiavellian red herring designed to hide the truth by misdirecting your inquiry away from the heart of the matter.

    Want to truly understand why we can't let the Vatican succeed at telling us what to think about ancient history? There is a foolproof way to verify the truth and expose centuries-old religious deceptions. It is also the common thread connecting why the ancient Hebrews, Yahad/Essene, Jews, Gnostics, Cathars, Templars, Dead Sea Scrolls, DaVinci Code, and others have all been targets of Rome’s ire and evil machinations. What the Vatican and its secret society cohorts don’t want you to understand is that the ancient Hebrew symbology in all of these texts purposely encodes and exposes the truth about them. Furthermore, the structure of ancient symbology verifiably encodes the rules to decode messages built with it. This is what they most fear you will discover.

    If the Bible represented the literal truth or even accurate history, there would be no need for faith in the assertions of deceptive and duplicitous clergy and their ilk. Wisdom and faith are opposing concepts, because wisdom requires the unequivocal truth where faith obfuscates and opposes it. Religion is therefore the enemy of truth and wisdom.

    It is undeniable the New Testament is framed by ancient Hebrew symbolism and allegory. The same is evidenced in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic texts, biblical apocrypha, DaVinci Code, and other related texts. All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid!

    It is amazing the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are literal truth. It is beyond obvious they are replete with ancient Hebrew symbology. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions. This is the secret held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, and Cathars, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth. That is a key fact to unraveling ages-old mysteries.

    Likewise, the following Washington Post article ( The Book of Bart) describes how many changes and embellishments were made to New Testament texts over the centuries, unequivocally demonstrating they are not original, infallible, or truthful.

    It's no wonder the Vatican fears the truth more than anything else. Seek to understand the symbolic significance of my name (Seven Star Hand) and you will have proof beyond disproof that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have long been duped by the great deceivers I warned humanity about over the millennia. What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom?

    Now comes justice, hot on its heels... (symbolism...)

    Not only do I talk the talk, I walk the walk...
    Here is Wisdom!!

    Revelations from the Apocalypse

  2. I am also quite surprised at the reactions.

  3. You have piqued my interest in the "Holy Blood, Holy Grail". I've just finished reading The Labyrinth which gave a vivid portrayal of the cruelty of the Inquisitors.

  4. "Maybe the thought of a high profile film propagating the notion of a Jesus married to a woman considered by Christians as a prostitute, must be to the Church and Christians highly blasphemous, indeed as highly blasphemous as the Muhammad caricatures had been to Muslims. Certainly food for thought for Westerners and Christians."

    Indeed many Christians are upset with the movie. However, Christians
    did not:

    1. Pass a death sentence on the author or film maker of the Da Vinci code.

    2. Did not threaten the female cast of the movie with rape.

    3. Did not blame Muslims for the existence of the book or movie.

    4. Did not kill anyone over the issue.

    These are some of the differences betwewen the Christians and Muslims. I wonder why the Muslims are not upset about the movie as they also claim Christ to be a prophet of theirs. Would you like to know why Ktmoc?

  5. I am sure you're going to tell me anyway. But you missed the point, a Jesus statement, that he who is without sin cast the first stone. So some Christians in Europe have been hypocrites when they talked down to Muslims that they (the Muslims) shouldn't get upset over the caricatures. And the Christian upset has been unexplainably worse when the Da Vinci Code is just fiction without making fun at Jesus, while the Muhammad caricatures were designed to directly insult the Muslim prophet.

    We may not have heard anyone threatening to kill Dan Brown but that doesn't mean there isn't or hasn't been a few. But what we do know is there have been organised boycotts of Sony and cinemas.

    Also, Christians aren't above a little murder occasionally, like bombing abortion clinics in the USA.

  6. "We may not have heard anyone threatening to kill Dan Brown but that doesn't mean there isn't or hasn't been a few". Let's not speculate, okay? Yes, there are some Christians who do kill in the name of their religion. However, their actions are largely confined to the society they are in.
    Jesus did say 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone'. But I think it is fair to say that some sinners are bigger than others. That is the crucial difference.

  7. See

    New Delhi (ENI). Some Indian Christians are so incensed with the fictional blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code" they want the government to ban it and one Roman Catholic has offered a bounty of US$25 000 on the head of author Dan Brown, leaving other members of the faithful embarrassed by the reaction.

    The Mumbai Catholic Council has threatened to stop the screening of the movie if the government fails to ban the recently released movie of the book. Another group called the Catholic Social Forum has said if the shows go ahead it will launch a death fast from 12 May.

    Nicolas Almeida, a Catholic and former Mumbai municipal councillor, offered a reward of 1.1 million rupees ($25 000) for the head of author Brown, leading a Catholic journalist to compare Almeida to the Taliban. (...)

    I rest my case.