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DaVinci Code - A Book Question


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#1 of 37 Scott Dautel

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Posted May 16 2006 - 12:37 AM

I read the book years ago ... looking forward to the movie this weekend.

Here's my question - this morning, as usual I was listening to Good Morning America on my way in to work. They were sensationalizing all the controversy over the film release. But here's what buggged me ... GMA said that the book asserts that Jesus "was not divine, but rather, mortal, and had a child".

Of course, the child and continuation of Jesus' bloodline were the foundation of the story, but I don't recall ever reading an assertion that Jesus was not divine. My recollection was that Dan Brown was essentially silent on this issue?

Am I wrong? Am I forgetting a HUGE detail? Is it impossible for the son of God to father a child? (oops ... better skip that last one, perhaps to controversial for HTF). Why does the media try so hard to stir up trouble with the religious right?

Please stay away from the "thread lock" zone ... this is a simple question about a book/movie detail

#2 of 37 Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 16 2006 - 01:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Dautel
I read the book years ago ... looking forward to the movie this weekend.

Here's my question - this morning, as usual I was listening to Good Morning America on my way in to work. They were sensationalizing all the controversy over the film release. But here's what buggged me ... GMA said that the book asserts that Jesus "was not divine, but rather, mortal, and had a child".

Of course, the child and continuation of Jesus' bloodline were the foundation of the story, but I don't recall ever reading an assertion that Jesus was not divine. My recollection was that Dan Brown was essentially silent on this issue?

Am I wrong? Am I forgetting a HUGE detail? Is it impossible for the son of God to father a child? (oops ... better skip that last one, perhaps to controversial for HTF). Why does the media try so hard to stir up trouble with the religious right?

Please stay away from the "thread lock" zone ... this is a simple question about a book/movie detail

You are correct. Dan Brown stated nothing about Jesus' divinity. If anything, he leaned towards the divine rather than the mortal. Nothing in Catholic doctrine (that I know of*) states that Christ could not have fathered a child, except for the "pure of flesh" thing, which is open to interpretation.

*Please note: My Catechism training consisted of 10 years of CCD via the nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt and Shame; so while I'm familiar, I'm certainly no expert. Posted Image

I'm just finishing Brown's "Angels and Demons", the first Langdon book. Brown has a great appreciation of the Catholic religion; it was the protagonist in "Angels and Demons", the antagonists being the Illuminati. I don't understand why people would think him an enemy of the church, given his other writings, especially "Angels and Demons".

Anyway, these books are adventure stories with some great background information and research, not treatises on church doctrine. Too many are making a controversy over what is simply great fiction.

#3 of 37 Scott Dautel

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Posted May 16 2006 - 01:59 AM

Jeff ... Thanks for confirming my recollection. I agree that Dan Brown's work is nothing more than riveting fiction. But I must say that if I were Dan, I would probably enjoy sitting back and watching the Fireworks. In this case, the old ... "no press is bad press" really holds true.

Also, I read Angels & Demons just after DaVinci code. While both were excellent, I would have to say that A&D was just slightly better for me ... DaVinci at times felt just a little overly long. But I suppose it's hard to rush 2000 years of history. Oops ... I mean Fiction Posted Image

BTW ... I have also read Digital Fortress. Brown does great research. Fortress was certainly an enjoyable read (3/4 stars), but not quite the page turners as were DaVinci & A&D. I tried to get into Deception Point, but after about 150 pages, I quit. We always say that if the movie doesn't "kick in" within 30 min., it's in trouble. Same thing goes for Deception Point ... maybe I'll try again onb my summer vaca.

#4 of 37 RobertR

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Posted May 16 2006 - 02:02 AM

I'll add that The DaVinci Code is not written from an anti-religious or anti-mystical standpoint. It's simply a work of fiction with an alternate religious/mystical viewpoint.

#5 of 37 JeremyErwin

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Posted May 16 2006 - 02:39 AM

ah, amazon, your "search inside" feature is so useful.
Quote:
"The twist is this," Teabing said, talking faster now. "Because Constantine upgraded Jesus' status almost four centuries after Jesus' death, thousands of documents existed chronicling His life as a mortal man To rewrite the history books, Constantine knew he would need a bold stroke. From this sprang the most profound moment in Christian history. Teabing paused, eying Sophie. Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ's human traits, and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up and burned."

There are other exciting revelations, too!

#6 of 37 Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyErwin
ah, amazon, your "search inside" feature is so useful.


There are other exciting revelations, too!

Central to the Catholic faith is the fact that Christ was both Man and Divine, a paradox that is only explained by faith. I have never heard it said that he was purely divine and now that I remember this passage, I can remember the problems I had with it.

This concept was dealt with in the Council of Chalcedon in the year 451 and it most certainly mentions Christ's humanity; in fact it refutes the concept of pure divinity (from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia....il_of_Chalcedon)

Quote:
The Council of Chalcedon was an ecumenical council that took place from October 8–November 1, 451 at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor) which today is part of the city of Istanbul on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and known as the district of Kadıköy. It is the fourth of the first seven Ecumenical Councils in Christianity, and is therefore recognized as infallible in its dogmatic definitions by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, and set forth the Chalcedonian Creed, which describes the full humanity and full divinity of Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

Now, the quote from Brown may argue the Church refuted Christ as being merely mortal, but it most certainly did not designate him as purely divine. Seems Brown used a little literary license and/or his scholarly research was a little lacking.

#7 of 37 JeremyErwin

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:27 AM

Quote:
Seems Brown's scholarly research was a little lacking.

The understatement of the year. But does it really matter? It's not like the the Arians and the Athanasians are going to start up another pointless war.

#8 of 37 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:31 AM

Quote:
Seems Brown used a little literary license and/or his scholarly research was a little lacking.

You think? Posted Image

Despite hiding behind the "its only a novel" excuse Brown has a long list of "facts" at the beginning of the book, most of which are nonsense. (Leonardo could not have been a member of Brown's "Priory of Sion" since there never was such a group. The "proof" that it existed consist of documents forged by an hysterical French anti-cleric and anti-semite who smuggled them into various libraries and museums so that they could be "discovered". The entire hoax was exposed back in the 1950s. But Brown will never tell you about that.)

And he portrays the last 2,000 years of Catholic history as a massive lie, and murderous conspiracy. How is that not "anti-Catholic"? And the less said about his insane slander of the lay organization Opus Dei, the better.

Brown is a hack writer who tapped into an ancient current of paranoia, conspiracy theory and hostility to authority that has always been present in American society. Throw in a thriller structure and a bit of the fashionable anti-Catholicism that has existed in the west since the Reformation and was particularly strong in the English speaking world thanks to centuries of religious warfare between Protestant Britain and the Catholic powers on the continent and voila! instant best-seller. It may be a novel but it is undeniable that Brown sold it as being based on real facts and the idea that this is an actual DaVinci Code to that gives precisely the message he claims it does. Only the hunt for it in the thriller is presented as fiction. And that is no accident but an extremely successful marketing strategy.

Regards,

Joe

#9 of 37 Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyErwin
The understatement of the year. But does it really matter? It's not like the the Arians and the Athanasians are going to start up another pointless war.

Actually, I lean more towards the literary license side. Brown is always pretty deep in his research, but an author never lets the truth get in the way of a good story (not to mention a GMA host). Besides, what is the harm, besides a few Catholics picketing his movie? As you said "(i)t's not like the the Arians and the Athanasians are going to start up another pointless war" and the Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have long since settled the little nagging point about divine vs. mortal. Well, maybe not "settled", but they did agree to disagree. Posted Image

#10 of 37 Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:39 AM

Joe, I think you are a little harsh, considering the rock solid pro-Catholic Angels and Demons. It was a good story, if it wasn't, the lack of "truth" in it would have turned me off. I tried to dislike it, but was caught up in the yarn. Is it maybe a dangerous work for those who choose to use it as "truth"? Sure, but that can be said of many, many works; some far less truthful, far more damaging and far more marketed as "non-fiction" than this little adventure story.

#11 of 37 D. Scott MacDonald

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:47 AM

I read the book over the weekend and it was strongly hinted that Jesus was not divine, or at least that he was not declared divine until the council voted him as divine 300 years after the fact (and even then they point out that it was a close vote).

I found the book fascinating, but was a little suprised yesterday to learn (both from google and from the History channel) how incorrect the book was on a number of points. I certianly expect some literary license, but when the book starts out with a page of "facts", it would be nice if it at least got those correct. It was a great read, but it came across as a little to authoritative for such a work of fiction.
Scott

#12 of 37 MichaelBA

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Posted May 16 2006 - 04:30 AM

Obviously Brown wrote something extremely popular, which is its own kind of achievement, albeit hardly therefore a literary triumph. Whether he's a great fiction writer or a hack or something in between, his "facts" are so riddled with errors and fabrications as to be plainly ludicrous.

Tangentially, a known collateral relative of Jesus is a part of the actual historical record, even if not absolutely verifiable. According to Epiphanius, Panarion 66.20, the last Jewish-Christian bishop of Jerusalem was Judah Kyriakos (circa 148 c.e.), and he was said to be the descendant of Judas (or Jude), the "brother" of Jesus, which could mean either his blood-brother through Mary or his step-brother through Joseph, depending on which tradition is accepted, or perhaps even a cousin.
He's got the bit between his teeth... all right!

#13 of 37 JeremyErwin

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Posted May 16 2006 - 04:40 AM

It is a little tempting to try to reconstruct an ideal religion from first principles:
Quote:
This church made a mistake centuries ago. Imagine if they hadn't
with the end result being a utopian ideal.

Many of the heretical writings that Dan Brown alludes to are gnostic (a rather broad, and perhaps misleading term.) Some of them are mystery religions. Although the hierarchy professes to know of great wisdom, it is doled out piece by piece, in secret, to initiates and acolytes.

In the US, I think, one is able to shop around for one's religion, picking the one that makes sense-- and if it so happens that one religious practice is more spiritually or intellectually fulfilling, so be it. One can switch. But in a mystery cult, the secrets might be doled out one by one, for purposes that might as well be political.

A great many feminists have wanted to become more than a uterus with legs. And a few (perhaps a very few), believing that the traditional church is patriarchal, have tried to resurrect various Goddess cults to serve as an alternative. But it's quite likely that such sects, had they survived, would be preaching about the sacred wonder of a legged uterus...

#14 of 37 Inspector Hammer!

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Posted May 16 2006 - 08:42 AM

I realize that the majority of the members here at HTF know that this book is fiction, but to those that actually believe what Brown says, I have a nice moss-covered bridge located on a prime piece of real estate in Middle Earth to sell you.
"That's Jack Bauer!!!!!! He's coming for me!!!!!" - Charles Logan

#15 of 37 Yee-Ming

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Posted May 16 2006 - 03:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph DeMartino
Despite hiding behind the "its only a novel" excuse Brown has a long list of "facts" at the beginning of the book, most of which are nonsense. (Leonardo could not have been a member of Brown's "Priory of Sion" since there never was such a group. The "proof" that it existed consist of documents forged by an hysterical French anti-cleric and anti-semite who smuggled them into various libraries and museums so that they could be "discovered". The entire hoax was exposed back in the 1950s. But Brown will never tell you about that.)
I thought it was "started" in the 1950s by the guy planting documents in, amongst other places, the French equivalent of the Library of Congress, whilst he finally admitted his scam around the 1980s? Or at least that's what I remember from the Wikipedia entry when I first looked up Priory of Sion earlier this year after I finally read DVC.

#16 of 37 nolesrule

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Posted May 16 2006 - 05:53 PM

Is Dan Brown a pseudonym for L. Ron Hubbard?

It's a work of fiction.

This is turning into a real life Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

#17 of 37 Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 17 2006 - 01:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kauffman
Is Dan Brown a pseudonym for L. Ron Hubbard?

Whoops, now you're talking religion, which is a no no! Posted Image

#18 of 37 Hugh Jackes

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Posted May 17 2006 - 02:03 AM

Somewhat off topic, but I found that the more I read Dan Brown, the more tiresome he became. Started with Da Vinci, then the one about the arctic ice station (forget the name) and then Angels & Demons. About halfway through A&D, I found the pace; each "chapter" a page and a half, ending in a cliff hanger; became increasingly tedious. Finished A&D, then did't pick up any other Brown books (does he have others?).

I don't know whether I will visit the upcoming-but-one-year-delayed Da Vinci sequel. Will I be over the exasperation that set in during A&D by then?
I have learned that some pain cannot be healed, but must be endured. I believe our Higher Power will help us to endure and find peace. I loved the boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable and he is taken from me-yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it."
-- William Wordsworth 1812

 

#19 of 37 JeremyErwin

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Posted May 17 2006 - 02:19 AM

It's often been a criticism that Dan Brown's novels are written for easy adaptation to the screen. But if da Vinci code fails, perhaps pulp writers will get the message... Write a novel-- not a half disguised screenplay.

#20 of 37 nolesrule

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Posted May 17 2006 - 07:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Gatie
Whoops, now you're talking religion, which is a no no! Posted Image

Nope. Just talking about authors of fiction. Any other conclusions drawn from my statement cannot be attributed to me. Posted Image


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