Da Vinci's Masterpiece "Ruined"
Over the years books have come out that challenge the Christian faith or the Bible. Many use every strategy possible to discredit the Bible. Some have spoken vigorously against the resurrection, others have challenged the Bible itself. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is just such a book that can make peoples faith in Christ and the Bible be shaken if they do not know TRUE history.
On the first day of its release The Da Vinci Code 6,000 copies, by week's end 23,578. It was No. 1 on the New York Times hard-cover fiction bestseller list in its first week, which is very rare for an obscure author. It has now sold over 40 million copies.
And its popularity continues. It has been #1 at amazon.com, #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, or near the top of The New York Times hard-cover fiction bestseller list for 58 weeks, selling between 80,000 and 90,000 copies per week.
TV specials were done on the books premise. ABC aired a primetime special called “Jesus, Mary, and Da Vinci,” which considered the historical ideas in the book to be factual. Brown appeared on ABC's “Good Morning America” and the ABC primetime special called “Jesus, Mary, and Da Vinci.”
Brown is now writing a sequel to “The Da Vinci Code,” to be due out next year. It is also set to become a major motion picture produced by Sony Pictures with Ron Howard as the director. Tom Hanks has now agreed to play the main Character. The challenge to the church from this book unlike anything we have recently seen and only beginning. You can be sure there is more to come as this is fueling much animosity toward those who hate the church.
We cannot underestimate the potential of well packaged heresy to unknowledgeable people on Christianity. It is banking on the premise that more people are attracted to what is false, than what is true. This book, based on a supposed secret kept hidden for almost 2,000 years is an open attack on Christ and the truth of His word, the Bible.
Brown does not claim his book is a novel, it is classified as fiction - but a historical fiction surrounded by true historical facts.
On his website Brown states, “While the book's characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist. My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.”
Many stories are done and promoted as truth, but truth without proof is not truth at all. It is here that the truth gets twisted on its head. As the author weaves his story, up becomes down; backwards becomes forward.
On the television special, Brown says he “became a believer” in the theories that he inserts in the storyline of The Da Vinci Code-- after his attempts of trying to disprove them. Brown says “I spent a year doing research before writing The Da Vinci Code.” That is quite a short time to put together a supposed secret kept hidden from the masses for almost 2,000 years.
Bible scholar Darrell L. Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary, who authored Breaking the Da Vinci Code, contends that Brown has a deeper agenda than mere fiction, and he cites the author's remark on “Good Morning America” that he might not change any of the historical material if the book were nonfiction.
“There is something he's doing under the cloak of fiction that needs to be brought to the conscious level,” Bock said. “It is a concern to the degree that poor information never helps anyone. He has said he did it to create a discussion on the origins of Christianity. We are obliging him.”
The book is 450 pages of a revisionist view of Christian doctrines and history -- in light of Gnostic writings -- that Brown claims are the real truth. In response to Browns speculations, 12 books refuting it have been published. I suggest people who believe Brown's revision to read some scholarly work before they accept his theory.
Historical inaccuracies become the basis for this fiction book, and most people are not equipped to discern fact from fiction within the book's cleverly written pages. Yet people will believe what they want to without any real proof.
Brown opens his book with the words “FACT” in bold, capital letters and this statement: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”
The New York Daily News states “His research is impeccable.” Is it? It is amazing that no news journalist has challenged all the misrepresentations of facts and historical inaccuracies.
The most fascinating part of the book is the revelation of “facts” and conspiracies interwoven in the story. This theory has not originated with Brown but as many have pointed out it was promoted over 20 years ago with less success in the 1983 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, and Richard Leigh. The book has been shown to be based on fraudulent manuscripts and poor scholarship. Yet Brown uses it as his primary source? Dan Brown’s interview with Borders states that all of the history and ancient documents in The Da Vinci Code are accurate. www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=browndan
Michael Baigen In his book Holy Blood, Holy Grail explains Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) belonged to a secret organization called the Priory of Sion. According to Baigent, Leonardo and the other members of this group were in possession of privileged information about an alleged marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. This information was apparently passed down through history in a conspiratorial fashion. Da Vinci was one of the keepers whom passed this secret knowledge. The history in Baigent’s book have been seriously questioned by many scholars.
Scholars' should do the same to Brown's book.
Brown states “As I mentioned earlier, the secret I reveal is one that has been whispered for centuries. It is not my own. Admittedly, this may be the first time the secret has been unveiled within the format of a popular thriller, but the information is anything but new. My sincere hope is that The Da Vinci Code, in addition to entertaining people, will serve as an open door for readers to begin their own explorations.”
The Da Vinci code attacks the eyewitnesses of the Bible and it historicity. Its intent is to bring doubt to the accuracy and reliability of the Scriptures. Brown’s hero in the book remarks that: “every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith-acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove” (Brown, 341 http://www.answers.org/issues/davincicode.html). In other words, the only religious truth you will find is that there is no truth, except what Brown reveals by his book.
Our Christian faith is based upon revealed truth; that everyone can understand, if they take the time. It is not something secret or hidden. The New Testament uses faith as a set of convictions, a trust in actual facts that are true. The meaning intended, is, in the sense of faithfulness, or loyalty owed to one in whom one is embedded for service. It is grounded in facts that are historical, that have proof from archeology, manuscript evidence and most importantly proved by prophecy, which no other book (religious or otherwise) contains.
Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest archaeologists who ever lived wrote of Luke the author of the gospel and the book of Acts stating, “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, this author should, be placed along with the very greatest of historians. Luke's history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.”
Brown’s books detail has historical names mixed in his storyline to legitimize a theory that Brown has concocted. The book presents a mixture of anti-Christian teachings, radical feminist theology (goddess worship). In it, Browne claims through his characters that Jesus made no claims of his divinity; that the early Christians did not believe in the divinity of Christ; he was just an ordinary man who was not divine, did not die for our sins, the Resurrection never happened; and that our Bible is the result of a political power play by the Roman Emperor Constantine; and early Christians worshiped the “divine feminine.”
The book makes the outrageous claim that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene. A child was born in their marriage, and that Mary and her child fled after the crucifixion to Gaul France, where they established the Merovingian line of European royalty.
Despite all this content, on Browns Website the question is asked ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? His answer- “Yes. Interestingly, if you ask three people what it means to be Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel being baptized is sufficient. Others feel you must accept the Bible as immutable historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as their personal savior are doomed to hell. … we're each following our own paths of enlightenment. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress” (Emp. mine).
Does this sound like a Christian? Or, someone always learning an never coming to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim.3:7). I have an idea, why don’t we start with Jesus and see what the apostles said were the requirements for being a Christian? But he does not believe the Bible. So his opinion of interpretation becomes equal to all others, in fact it becomes superior. His animosity toward the Bible and Christ exudes from almost every chapter. Brown is not a Christian as he sides with the enemies of Christianity, the Gnostics; his statement, “...we're each following our own paths of enlightenment ” should be sufficient.
The book begins with the murder of the curator of the Louvre in Paris. The Harvard code specialist called into the case pursues the culprit, and in so doing discovers an array of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. The plot revolves around a mystery with evil figures and secret societies, puzzles, symbols, amazing escapes, as the plot twists ands turns through the book making fascinating reading.
The book is also filled with conspiracy theories. Everyone that ever was attached to a conspiracy is involved, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucian's, the Vatican, Opus Dei, the Freemasons, Nazis, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Catholic church . The only group left missing are UFO’s. Maybe they will appear in the sequel.
The book “reveals” to the readers that Jesus was not divine; that he married the Mary Magdalene had a child with her, the church conspired for millennia to hide the truth. Where does his information on this come from? Very simply, the Gnostics, who were an anti-christian cult that claimed to have secret knowledge of God and challenged Christianity.
Readers are told Mary had to flee Jerusalem after Christ’s crucifixion because Peter was angered by her leadership role; That Mary survived and found refuge in France where she gave birth to Jesus’ daughter. So the story goes...
The history of Mary, her daughter and their descendant’s are chronicled by those who protected them. This lineage of Jesus intermarried with French royal blood in the fifth century; that documents detailing this secret history were hidden. The Knights Templar entrusted the safekeeping of the documents to a group called The Priory of Sion.
I think I need to ask a question that becomes obvious, are these French descendents Jewish? Or are we next going to hear Jesus was not even Jewish?
On the ABC special it was stated the Merovingian kings say the first queen was impregnated by a fish. This is interpreted as symbolizing Jesus, because of the early Christian's symbol of a fish. This is stretching a imaginary story to its max. Brown reveals to us the “Priory of Sion” was been given charge of the Holy Grail to guard these secrets that would severely damage Christianity. That this secret knowledge was passed on through codes and symbols. The priory is to maintain a religion of balance between male and female (celebrated in ritual intercourse) which Constantine banished out of Christianity to strengthen male power.
Indiana Jones was mistaken to look for a chalice with the blood. The search for the Holy Grail turns out not to be the chalice but Mary Magdalene-who married Jesus and bore a child; Sarah, whose descendents are still alive. Knights claim to be “searching for the chalice” were speaking in code as a way to protect themselves from a Church that had subjugated women, banished the Goddess, burned non-believers, and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine” (The Da Vinci Code, pp. 238-239).
This brings us to Leonardo da Vinci, we are told he was at one time a Grand Master of The Priory and many of his famous paintings contain numerous symbols and codes’ to pass on the secret.
Who is Leonardo Da Vinci?
Leonardo lived in about 15th century in Florence Italy. In 1500produced his first designs for the now famous flying machine the scythed chariot and the armored car. No doubt, he was a visionary of sorts. He is especially known for two paintings, the Mona Lisa and the Last supper. On Brown’s webpage titled “Bizarre True Facts from The Da Vinci Code http://www.danbrown.com/secrets/bizarre_facts/davinci_code.html
Out of hundreds of pages of calculations and drawings there is nothing in his notebooks that presupposes passing on secrets attributed to him in browns book. However, imagination and reality are blurred as Brown writes that Leonardo was a “prankster and genius” who is “widely believed to have hidden secret messages within much of his artwork.” Widely believed is never proven, exaggerations are Browns forte. Statements like these are made throughout the book.
Many claim the book is filled with historical inaccuracies. Bruce Boucher of Chicago’s Art Institute in an article in The New York Times Aug. 3, 03 tore apart Dan Brown’s knowledge of Leonardo da Vinci.
The Da Vinci Code correctly states that there are two versions of this painting-the earlier one is in the Louvre in Paris and the later one is housed at the National Gallery in London (painted on a wood panel). But Browns facts are again misconstrued, he describes the painting as a “a five-foot-tall canvas,” when it is actually about 6.5 feet tall according the Louvre web site.
He could not even get the measurements right but states in his book “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” The original fresco is on a wall of the refectory (dining hall) in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. It is huge, 15 x 29 feet.
The painting was finished in 1498. The Last Supper is Leonardo's visual interpretation of an event recorded in all four of the Gospels (books in the Christian New Testament not the Gnostic writings). The evening before Christ was betrayed by one of his disciples, he gathered them together to eat the traditional Passover meal and tell them about what would soon take place. Da Vinci painted the 12 disciples during the moment when Christ tells them there is a traitor among them. His intent was to capture the reaction of each person at the table. What seems to be a twist of irony is that Brown does not believe the Biblical record that Da Vinci used to base his painting on.
How do we know if the painting of Da Vinci is accurate? He was not there. Leonardo did not copy a photo of the actual Last Supper. Though the eye -witnesses are no longer here, we have written what took place. We must go to the Bible just like he did to find out what transpired.
Brown claims that it is Mary Magdalen, not John to the right of Jesus -because the person looks feminine. This late 15th century mural is not proof about 1st century events described in the New Testament. Even if Leonardo intentionally made the Beloved Disciple have a feminine look, so what. There is such a thing as artistic license. John isn't the only effeminate-looking male Leonardo had painted. Leonardo's painting Angel in the Flesh figure has a similar feminine face (in the likeness of John in The Last Supper). The theory that DaVinci included Mary Magdalene in his painting The Last Supper is not accepted by art historians, who say that the “feminine” figure seated to the left of Jesus is the boyish looking Apostle John as he is normally depicted in artwork of the period.
The books reveal a secret code in Da Vinci’s painting- Between the alleged Mary and Jesus forms a letter. “Glaring in the center of the painting was the unquestionable outline of an enormous, flawlessly formed letter M.” (p. 245) (Or a V) Also, we should also notice the dinner is taking place in daylight, not in evening as it is supposed to, maybe that’s another clue? A clue that it is absolutely not accurate.
A “flawlessly formed letter M,” is debatable. What is the significance of this? This like finding messages in rock formations or words in Alphabet soup. It really means absolutely nothing except to those who an active imagination and want to connect the dots. Maybe the reason is that this cannot be seen by the uninitiated.
We also read the character Teabing saying, “Oddly, Da Vinci appears to have forgotten to paint the Cup ofChrist” (p. 236). Brown admits that it was his professor that showed the class a slide and pointed out the chalice is missing, then supposing the Holy Grail was Mary.
First of all they did not use a chalice but ordinary pottery cups and these are found in the painting, plainly in view on the table in front of Christ and the others. This Mystery is solved. One can see the straw man arguments in this book and are not grounded in what really took place. We have Brown reinterpreting history with a painting.
Some have also pointed out that the Templar Revelation is the source of almost all of Brown’s “research” into Leonardo.
Umbert Eco interviewed on the ABC TV special (Jesus Mary and Da Vinci, Aug.5, 2004) said that he puts the Holy Grail as a literary invention like Pinocchio or Little Red Riding Hood. He is more right than Dan Brown
What is the Bibles Account?
In John 12:1-2 six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, and Martha served the dinner. So it is possible a woman was there to serve the dinner but this proves nothing of Jesus being married to Mary.
What is the Bibles account? Luke 22:13-14 “…and they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.” That’s who the Bible says is at the table. That’s whom Da Vinci painted, there are only 12 people. If Mary is not John, where is John or whoever is missing?
Where did Brown get this secret knowledge passed down? Mary Magdalene -- as the disciple whom Jesus loved -- is reflected in the Gnostic Christian writings of Nag Hammadi -- e.g., the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary.” “In some ancient gnostic communities, Mary Magdalene was thought of as having been the “Beloved Disciple” and the companion of the Lord. What is not taken into account is that the Gnostics were not Christians. They were a cult that used Jesus and others names to attack the Bible and Christianity. They even claimed Mary as their leader but there is no historical proof of this.
We know from the Bible that Peter was on one side and Judas was probably next to or near Jesus. But who is the person on the other side that Da Vinci painted that makes this controversy. What we need to look at carefully is who is on the right of Jesus because this is the basis of Brown's book, and it rests on Da Vinci’s painting passing down this secret information.
At the last supper gathered around the table enjoying the Passover, Jesus tells the disciples one will betray him. The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
(John 13:18-33) At the last supper gathered around the table enjoying the Passover Jesus tells the disciples one will betray him. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”
It’s not a mystery because the Bible tells us. Jesus mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene were all at the cross, and so was John. In John 19:26 “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “ woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27) Here John refers to himself, as one Jesus loved not Mary, the disciple is a he. And he also is the author of the gospel it is written. If one is going to accept the 4th gospel by John as actually by Mary, they would have to accept the other epistles he (she) wrote also, as they clearly are the same styles and concepts ingrained showing it is the same author. Yet he ignores what John himself writes in it.
John 20:1-2 “On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early finding the stone removed. “Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved.” One has to change a number of Scriptures in the Bible to make Magdalene the disciple Jesus loved
At one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” after the Lord restores Peter. V. 20-21 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper…Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” v22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
One may jump to conclusions and say this was Mary but the Bible tells us this was John. What these Gnostic promoters do is say this was intentionally changed from Mary to John being the disciple Jesus loved.
Brown lays the groundwork by having his main characters deny the inspiration and authority of the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John replaced with the gnostic gospels. The gnostic texts are called the “unaltered gospels,” and the New Testament texts are mocked as misinformation from the goddess-bashers. [Brown claims the Gospel of Mary Magdalene as ‘unaltered” (p.248)].
Brown's intent to undermine the very historicity of the New Testament is not hidden. He holds the belief that the true Jesus was a Gnostic; and that the earliest “Christian” writings were the Gnostic Gospels and the “still searching” for document Q party. In The Da Vinci Code: “Many scholars claim that the early Church literally stole Jesus from His original followers, hijacking His human message, shrouding it in an impenetrable cloak of divinity, and using it to expand their own power” (p.233).
The Biblical Jesus becomes an imposture, created by the church, specifically patriarchal males that was hungry for power. In essence, Brown drops the A-bomb by saying everything the church believes is a lie because it is based on the Bible. (be it Roman Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, etc. everyone who claims to believe in the Bible)
The Da Vinci Code’s accusation; that Christianity is based upon a Big Lie (the deity of Christ) used by patriarchal oppressors to deny the true worship of the Divine Feminine. 2,000 years ago the church covered up Mary being the leader of the Christian community. As I said, the truth is twisted on its head and its not the church that has done it. Brown has convincingly brought doubt through a conspiracy story and forgeries that were rejected by those who lived when they were produced.
According to Browns book “Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false,” laments one of Brown’s characters. The real truth was rejected. The word Everything is the fuel that makes his theory run. Brown takes a negative view of the Bible and promotes a distorted image of Jesus. He’s neither the Messiah nor a humble carpenter but a wealthy, trained religious teacher bent on regaining the throne of David.
Hid character Teabing gives a quotes, one he claims is from Napoleon: “The winners in history are usually the ones who write the history we read.”
I would say that his rewriting history does far greater harm.
When one reads the Gnostic gospels, one thing becomes immediately obvious they read very different from our narratives. They do not present Jesus within a historical background with connected events in the life of Christ -- the details of his birth, baptism, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ that we have all become familiar with are distorted or missing. They fail miserably in contrast to the canonical New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that are set in a historical setting. It was these that were accepted long before these gnostic forgeries were written.