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Old 06-03-2006, 06:29 PM   #1
Kurgan
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Arrow The Da Vinci Code - resources for study

Okay, now I know this is probably a non-issue for many people here, and it's hardly a "serious" discussion topic, however considering I've read how millions of people apparently think the novel/movie is based on careful historical research, I figure this would be worth posting here, if for no other reason, than as a resource for people who are curious about how to answer believers in the DVC being "more than fiction." As an academic I share some concern over the widespread acceptance of the fiction as somehow being credible.

I have followed the author of the page for over a month on the IMDB.com forums (a cesspool compared to this place!) and can vouch for his integrity.

The site is unique in that it's written by an atheist and seeks to create a complete debunking of the claims in the novel (and thus also the movie) from a historical standpoint.

Anyway, enjoy:
http://www.historyversusthedavincicode.com/

I hope this will not be taken as advertising, I just felt it was a good resource to share. The author seems very open to constructive feedback as well.

PS: You have to be a member of IMDB.com (free) to view this, but I put up a list of some useful links (some of which have found their way into the above page) with other information, including links to primary sources, video and multimedia, etc.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0382625/boar...947?d=43209489


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Old 06-03-2006, 07:04 PM   #2
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Am I the only one who can just assume that it's fiction? I don't really need proof that it's fiction, Dan Brown never claimed the controversial parts were, and on top of that, they're just not believable (to me anyways).



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Old 06-03-2006, 07:09 PM   #3
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Wink

As I said, I wasn't really posting to correct people like you, I was posting this as a resource for anyone who wished to use it to correct the many "believers" out there on the internet, or just purely for their own trivia.

Actually Brown did claim that the novel was factually based. He only admitted the thriller storyline was "fiction." He claims to believe the "history." Many people doubt he actually does, and is only doing this to create controversy and sell more copies, but since so many fans seem to take him at his word, I figure it's something worth correcting.

Again, I'm not insinuating people on this forum are that gullible, just providing a hopefully helpful resource.


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Old 06-03-2006, 08:07 PM   #4
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It's BS, I started reading it but got bored real quick.
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Old 06-03-2006, 08:21 PM   #5
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The link I posted or the novel?


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Old 06-04-2006, 03:01 AM   #6
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Saw the movie... yeah, it's fiction. Interesting though. I liked it. My kind of movie. The perfect balance of action and story.

But that's a different topic...
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Old 06-04-2006, 04:19 AM   #7
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I hate to sound arrogant, but I guess I'll never get much out of religious thrillers... I just know too much! Ha... Gotta turn the ol' brain off sometimes I guess!

Anyway, opinions aside, I just wanted to help people educate those odd folks who think the conspiracies are real... and yes, such oddballs exist. But let's face it, this is teh Internet! Still I've seen some crazy polls that claim 32% of canadians thought the backstory was true or something.


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Old 06-04-2006, 01:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan
Actually Brown did claim that the novel was factually based.
Dan Brown is a talentless ******** anyway. How he's managed to convince people he can write a book is beyond me. Infact, if I didn't know any better, I'd say he were some sort of evil magician.


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Old 06-04-2006, 04:24 PM   #9
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I don't see how anyone can believe some of the things that Brown writes about. Especially on the topics of The Council of Nycea (spelling?), Opus Dei, The Priory of Sion, The Knight Templar's, etc....

He has practically no factual base for any of his claims...



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Old 06-04-2006, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan
The link I posted or the novel?
THe Novel, I should have been more clear
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Old 06-04-2006, 04:51 PM   #11
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So I definately just read on Fox news that The DaVinci Code was banned in Pakistan in defense of the Christian Minority, for having offensive and blashphemous material regarding Jesus...



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Old 06-04-2006, 05:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWally
He has practically no factual base for any of his claims...
I was unaware that fiction needs to have facts for its claims... considering that fiction means not real to begin with.
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Old 06-04-2006, 05:34 PM   #13
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But people are taking it very seiriously, because they believe anything anybody tells them
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Old 06-04-2006, 05:40 PM   #14
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But people are taking it very seiriously, because they believe anything anybody tells them
Then they're fools. It's fiction, they should leave it the hell at that and get on with their lives.
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kurgan
As an academic I share some concern over the widespread acceptance of the fiction as somehow being credible.
I second that concern.

I see it all the time... Cretinism, IDiocy (I know, I know, IDiocy is a subset of Cretinism), those godawful sci-fi flicks (and political operatives) that quote New Scientist (and Fux News) for their technobabble (and propaganda), as if it was some sort of credible reference...

Of course, I can hardly get wound up about the fact that the Church is now the target... What goes around, comes around... But that's for another thread...

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Old 06-04-2006, 11:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-8252
I was unaware that fiction needs to have facts for its claims... considering that fiction means not real to begin with.

Yes, the book is fiction, but In the beginning of the book he claims that all information he writes on Historical Events, and Groups (such as the Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, etc) are all FACT. Brown claims that the only fiction is the book is the story and characters.



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Old 06-05-2006, 12:00 AM   #17
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I once had a girl bitch me out for calling Dan Brown a "hack", these people take this pretty seriously

Their just like sheep "Four legs good, Two legs bad"

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Old 06-05-2006, 12:18 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by MrWally
Yes, the book is fiction, but In the beginning of the book he claims that all information he writes on Historical Events, and Groups (such as the Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, etc) are all FACT. Brown claims that the only fiction is the book is the story and characters.
Right, historical events like the Crusades, the groups like those listed, really DID happen and some of those groups still exist.
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:13 AM   #19
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I have to disagree with a minor point about Brown's presentation of "fact" in the book. It clearly has a "disclaimer" in the beginning that points out that the events themselves are fictional but that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents [...] and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." This would appear not to be true.

Perhaps the most prominent instance of this deception is on page 1 where Brown tells the reader, "[t]he Priory of Sion – a European secret society founded in 1099 – is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci."

There was a Priory of Sion, but it went extinct in 1617 when the Jesuits took over. The name was revived by anti-semite Pierre Plantard 1956, who invented a descendancy from the Knights of Templar and forged documents to show it. These documents are well demonstrated to be forged and discussed in texts like TheMurdered Magicians:The Templars and their Myth (Peter Parnter 1982: Oxford) and on the Wikipedia page for Priory of Sion, which lists some additional sources (though I've not looked at these).

The great thing about the Da Vinci Code is the controversy it's created. People are talking and doubting and, more importantly, questioning. Obviously, substituting one fiction for another isn't the best outcome, but if they can question one assumption, then perhaps most people will come away from the experience with the silly taboo of questioning religious doctrine broken.


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Old 06-05-2006, 03:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
There was a Priory of Sion, but it went extinct in 1617 when the Jesuits took over. The name was revived by anti-semite Pierre Plantard 1956, who invented a descendancy from the Knights of Templar and forged documents to show it. These documents are well demonstrated to be forged and discussed in texts like TheMurdered Magicians:The Templars and their Myth (Peter Parnter 1982: Oxford) and on the Wikipedia page for Priory of Sion, which lists some additional sources (though I've not looked at these).
Actually the Priory of Sion is a completely modern hoax. It never existed (except in the mind of Pierre Plantard) prior (no pun intended) to the 1950's. As a local club started for housing reform, he tried to give it a phony history with his forgeries to help boost his fantasies and delusions of grandeur about being the heir to the french throne.

You're probably thinking of the Abbey of Sion, which became part of the Jesuits in 1617.


Many see his "FACT" page as basically nullifying the standard disclaimer in any fiction book. Still, unless his statements in interviews are also "part of the fiction" then he can't be absolved of misleading his gullible fans into thinking this is based on credible scholarship. He did base his writings on non-fiction, sadly it was the non-fiction of kooks and conspiracy theorists.

It is my belief that there would be no controversy if Brown hadn't gone on a interview spree spouting off that this was all well-researched and factually based. People are gullible yes, but you don't see millions of people saying Lord of the Rings or Star Wars are real!

But the average person seemingly doesn't know the Council of Nicea from a hole in the ground. It's a little interesting to me that the primary fans of the DVC are Christians, and seemingly the ones most likely to believe he was "on to something." I've seen a few anti-Christians sieze on the novel as a means to justify their hatred of the religion, but by and large it seems that Christians are the ones reading the novel and buying into at least some aspect of it. I guess Brown hit on a key demographic this time. Making sensational claims about Jesus and wrapping it up in conspiracy theory is a sure fire best-seller. Still, three years on the list and 42 million+ copies later... etc.

Anyway, I'm happy to help anyone find the correct information on these topics if they ask, which was the whole reason I posted the info in the first place here.

I hadn't really expected a discussion to spring up, since we kinda already talked about the book way back when. The movie really doesn't do much of anything except bring it into the public eye again for a bit.


Quote:
So I definately just read on Fox news that The DaVinci Code was banned in Pakistan in defense of the Christian Minority, for having offensive and blashphemous material regarding Jesus...
Just goes to show that political correctness works in our favor sometimes! (Not that I'm pro-censorship, just making an observation here)


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Old 06-05-2006, 09:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWally
I don't see how anyone can believe some of the things that Brown writes about. Especially on the topics of The Council of Nycea (spelling?), Opus Dei, The Priory of Sion, The Knight Templar's, etc....

He has practically no factual base for any of his claims...
Weeell.... yes and no. All were real institutions. Everything was based on some form of fact... its just that he took major liberties when interpreting their actions and motivations.

His books remind me of Michael Crichton.... one does science, the other does history/art/religion... but they both basically throw enough real events, science/art/history, corporations etc.. into their novels to make the fictional parts that link them all together sound much more convincing.

He is a crap writer, and i don't know how in the name of god he got enough people to read his books to become one of the biggest authors in the world. And eveery single person i know who has read the DaVinci code says exactly the same thing: "Its interesting, but very badly written. Angels and demons was better. His other books suck."
I haven't read any other books so i can't comment... but i wasn't that inclined to after DaVinci Code.

I do think its a good thing if it gets people to question the all-too-human roots of christianity... but I don't think that replacing blind belief in the history the church pushes with blind belief in the fiction in tDVC is much of an improvement.

His "based on facts" statement at the start is basically the equivilent of those "Based on a true story" things at the start of a movie... and just as inaccurate.

But we don't get all this fuss about all those movies.. so i don't see why this merits it either...



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Old 06-05-2006, 01:42 PM   #22
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As a youth minister, I decided to read the book because I knew some of the kids in my youth group had read it. Overall, it was an okay book...at least, until they started getting into the conspiracy theory stuff. It read like a pretty decent cheap mystery novel up to that point. But once the conspiracy theory stuff started, it just got laborious, its unbelievability being the better part of what made it get boring.

Before reading it I was of the opinion that controversy over a novel was unjustified. After reading it, however, I've changed my opinion, especially after hearing of how Dan Brown has been in the public eye saying his assertions are true. Of course, that only justifies some of the response, but there have been more extreme responses (book burnings and hunger strikes) that are just plain stupid.

When I got to the conspiracy theory, I couldn't help but roll my eyes and heave a big sigh, because it was all old news to me...old and discredited. The risk, though, and the reason that the Church has been freaking out about the book & movie so much, is that uneducated people read the book and/or watch the movie and take it for what Dan Brown says it is. Even after reading the book for myself and finding out just how outrageously stupid it is, I don't support censoring the book or the movie...I think the Church would be much better served by debunking Brown's assertions, something the History vs. the Da Vinci Code site did very well (thanks for that link, Kurgan, I enjoyed the site immensely), but the Church seems to have been ineffective at (the fact that the press tends to report on the much more outrageous opposition probably has a lot to do with that).


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Old 06-05-2006, 05:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Just goes to show that political correctness works in our favor sometimes! (Not that I'm pro-censorship, just making an observation here)
I hate censorship deeply and don't agree with what they did, though it is nice to see that the Pakistani government is concerned with the welfare of it's minorities. Albeit the sulution wasn't good.
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Old 06-05-2006, 07:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samnmax221
I hate censorship deeply and don't agree with what they did, though it is nice to see that the Pakistani government is concerned with the welfare of it's minorities. Albeit the sulution wasn't good.
I literally laughed out loud at that one.



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Old 06-05-2006, 09:53 PM   #25
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What the hell was I thinking?!?!
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:35 AM   #26
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Quote:
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Weeell.... yes and no. All were real institutions. Everything was based on some form of fact... its just that he took major liberties when interpreting their actions and motivations.
Not quite...

The "Priory of Sion" was a French housing reform club started in 1956 by Pierre Plantard and some friends. It had nothing to do with the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, or Jesus, and certainly wasn't founded in 1099. It had no connection to the Order de Sion or Abbey of Sion from the middle ages, but was in fact named for a local mountain, "Mt. Sion."

The Priory described by Holy Blood Holy Grail and the Templar Revelation, that Brown assumes is an actual ancient organization, never existed.


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Old 06-06-2006, 10:44 AM   #27
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I noted that in the movie they inserted a line about how the Priory of Sion had been discredited as a hoax, and then added a "well, thats what they would want you to think". It was a nice way to get around the fact that one of the central elements of DBs research was completely discredited.

I do feel though that you can seperate out the basic "theme" of the novel and it has grains of truth... even if the specific storyline is daft.

The whole templar/priory/illuminati/daVinci/hiding jesus's bloodline thing is a fun but daft romp that has been done in numerous films and other artworks. Heck, Deus Ex and Tomb Raider both have a lot of the same illuminati/templar themes.

However the basic ideas that (a) Mary Magdalene was greatly downplayed by the christian church (b) Jesus may well have had offspring and (c) the church has created a lot of mythology by alteration or ommision are perfectly valid.

I'm not sure if the popularity of the book is down to people responing to the "fun but daft romp" or the underlying basic ideas...
...or more likely its because the extremist religious groups made such a fuss about it that many people, like me, read it to see what the fuss was about. The popularity can't be down to the quality of the writing.

I'd quite happily believe Jesus got married, or that MM was a disciple, or that at the very least a number of valid viewpoints may have been lost when the bible was compiled. Assuming Jesus was actually a god, its doubtful he could have kids with a mortal woman... but if he did then its much more likely that they are everywhere, mixed in with everyone else in the world... rather than a single bloodline that is in hiding and protected. That is obviously a daft idea fit only for a fictional story.



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Old 06-06-2006, 11:53 AM   #28
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Quote:
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Assuming Jesus was actually a god, its doubtful he could have kids with a mortal woman...
Why not? His dad did... and they weren't even married.


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Old 06-06-2006, 02:19 PM   #29
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Well that's the second time this library computer has eaten my reply to this thread, so I give up for now.

I guess it must be all the evil hype from the "Omen" remake mucking up the internet...


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Old 06-06-2006, 06:13 PM   #30
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Post I'm a huge geek, okay? Don't judge me!

Okay, let me try this again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by toms
I do feel though that you can seperate out the basic "theme" of the novel and it has grains of truth... even if the specific storyline is daft.
Without clarifying what you mean by "grains of truth" I think you've identified the majority view of the DVC by fans. Few probably believe the entire thing, but many believe significant portions and almost all fans believe it has "some grains of truth" though what specifically those are may vary with the person.

I think it is telling though that the more educated a person is about history, the less "grains of truth" they tend to see in the novel's backstory. In any case...

Quote:
However the basic ideas that (a) Mary Magdalene was greatly downplayed by the christian church
I'm not arguing here that a person cannot accept things on faith (beliefs) or that things are "possible", only what things are likely based on the historical evidence available to us.

a) Doesn't seem likely, because the earliest records of her (the New Testament), though scanty, are entirely positive. She was a female disciple from Magdala who sponsored Jesus' ministry and was cured of "seven demons" by him. She was the first witness to the resurrection, and one of the few disciples who stayed for the crucifixion while the others ran away (Magdalane, Mary the Mother of Jesus and the beloved disciple John, according to the Gospel of John).

Brown alleges that Jesus really intended for Mary to be in charge of the church, but Peter, being a mysoginist jerk, was jealous and forced her out in favor of himself. There is no evidence for Mary being the foundation of the church.

What Brown interprets this from are late 2nd and 3rd century Gnostic texts which give Mary a privileged place among the disciples. However it does not imply they were lovers, and it certainly does not imply she was the "foundation of the church" or meant to be the leader. It should be pointed out that Brown seems to ignore the other Gnostic writings which imply similar privileged places for Thomas, or James, or Judas, etc. The Gnostics purposely tended to ally themselves with marginal figures (other than James of course, who had a prominent position in the early Church, according to Acts, unless of course it is meant a different James than "the brother of the Lord"), because they believed in direct revelation from God as opposed to Jewish or Apostolic tradition or heirarchy as the path the salvation (salvation was by "gnosis" which in the end was self knowledge, as Jesus was a divine teacher of esoteric wisdom that could be accessed by the few through knowledge of the divine spark within).

Anyway, the whole "Mary was discredited as a prostitute" is similarly misunderstood by Brown. The notion that she was a prostitute was never a doctrine of the Catholic church, but rather a folk belief that arose over a misunderstanding of a sermon given by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, in which he (wrongly, but perhaps not maliciously) conflated the "woman taken in adultery" with Mary of Bethany and the unnamed repetant woman who annointed the feet of Jesus and Mary Magdalane. He never called her a "prostitute." And in fact, his sermon was not meant to slander her, but rather to use her as a symbolic figure for the different stages of faith in a believer.

In any case, the notion that she was a repentant prostitute actually increased devotion and veneration of her in the medieval church. Her story is told in the Golden Legend, etc. Artists loved her because it gave them a change from painting the same chaste Christian women and the Virgin Mary over and over again. Here was a "fallen woman" who came back to the light, so they tended to portray her with long beautiful red hair, great figure, fine clothes, etc. For all we know, the real Mary Magdalane may have been a rich widow, and an old woman, but that's not the popular image that we get.

In any case, in the late 1960's, the Vatican officially disavowed any notion that Mary Magdalane was a "prostitute" or that she should be identified with the woman taken in adultery. But every Jesus movie I've seen since that time that mentions her at all, always portrays her as a former prostitute (that's Hollywood for you!).

Quote:
(b) Jesus may well have had offspring and
Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But we have no historical evidence of his marriage or offspring, and some evidence that he was not married (for example his praise of celibacy, Paul's lack of mention of Jesus' marriage when we would expect him to as he is defending the right of apostles to be married and has to resort to mentioning Peter, no mention of his marriage even in the "heretic" Gnostic texts or later polemical Jewish texts or any extra canonical ancient sources).

We also know that in the 1st century there were examples of Jewish holymen who were celibate, such as the mentor of Josephus (a man named Banus), the Theraputae (sp?), John the Baptist, Paul the apostle, and the Essene sect. Widows who did not remarry and virgins were often praised in the New Testament and the writings early Church Fathers. The Gnostics praised celibacy (which would seem only natural because by and large they believed that matter was evil and corrupt, thus sexual intercourse could only bring trouble in the form of attachment to the flesh and the creation of more fleshy bodies via procreation).

I'm not sure anyone even suggested that Jesus was married until the 19th century...

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(c) the church has created a lot of mythology by alteration or ommision are perfectly valid.
While there are some scholars who would argue that there has been some "alteration" (historian and scholar Bart Ehrman argues this in two of his books, which I have not read, but I'm told that's what he argues), the fact remains that we have a plethora of evidence that Jesus was considered somehow divine as early as the first century within a few decades of Jesus' death, if not all the way to the beginning in his own lifetime.

Brown incorrectly alleges that "nobody" before the 325 CE believed that Jesus was anything more than a mere mortal prophet prior to the Emperor Constantine suddenly declaring him "a god" and it being approved by "a close vote," which is sheer nonsense of course. He also mistakenly claims the Gnostics rejected Jesus' divinity in favor of a "more human Jesus" when in fact quite the opposite (many doubted he ever had a human body) is true.

The New Testament writings (whether you believe they are true to what Jesus really said and did or not) are still our earliest records of the historical Jesus, and portray him in both human and divine terms. There is no historical evidence that Constantine "altered" the Gospels to suit some political agenda in the 4th century.


I guess my point is, believe what you want, study the stuff, but don't rely on Dan Brown to tell you what it's all about, because he's not a scholar and his research has proven to be quite laughable.

Obviously the average reader has no idea of course, but I think the truth is much more interesting than the fiction, so might as well point people to some scholarly sources instead.

Brown claims his primary wish is to "start a conversation" and get people to "seek the truth," which of course is noble. Sadly I've encountered numerous fans who feel that once they've read his book or seen the movie that they know "have the truth" and need look no further, refusing to question HIS sources and research, which is too bad.

Quote:
I'm not sure if the popularity of the book is down to people responing to the "fun but daft romp" or the underlying basic ideas...
...or more likely its because the extremist religious groups made such a fuss about it that many people, like me, read it to see what the fuss was about. The popularity can't be down to the quality of the writing.
I think we can safely say it is definately due to the "ideas." Yes, it seems this book has had a great appeal to "non-readers" (people who don't read many books) and has spread via word of mouth. However, the notion that it's a great book is probably not the reason for its popularity. Literary snobs (self identified btw!) have shown that he's not a very talented writer of prose, and the cookie cutter nature of the DVC is apparent to anyone who's read his previous novels (especially "Angels & Demons" the Langdon thriller that was published before DVC came out). The characters and plot are rather bland, mediocre and full of cliches.

Even the conspiracy is borrowed wholesale (yes, he won the plagiarism lawsuit, so LEGALLY of course) from previous NON-FICTION (but rubbish) sources like Holy Blood Holy Grail, the Templar Revelation, and the (non-scholarly) works of Margaret Starbird.

So it's not particulary original OR well written. It is a page turner and sensational (Holy Blood Holy Grail and the Templar Revelation were both best sellers in their time but are much denser than an airport novel and didn't achieve quite the success).

Anyway, Brown's previous novels which are very similar to the DVC (but don't promote conspirices about Jesus and Mary Magdalane of course) did not achieve the great success that the DVC did. AFTER the DVC became popular they all sold a few million copies each, obviously because people were now interested to see what else the author had written. Many fans were clamoring for an "Angels & Demons" movie, even though, many others admitted, it would probably be too similar to the DVC to be worth making.

The thing about the "controversy" boosting sales is that we have no way of really knowing. However it is worth pointing out that the DVC was HEAVILY promoted with a huge PR campaign when it first came out. It was a best seller the first week and has continued so to this day. I don't know of any public criticism coming from the Christian churches about it until it sold at least 15-20 million copies.

Dan Brown went on an interviewing frenzy promoting it as based on fact and how he was "a believer" (in the conspiracy theories contained in it). If anything HE created the controversy himself.

Quote:
I'd quite happily believe Jesus got married, or that MM was a disciple, or that at the very least a number of valid viewpoints may have been lost when the bible was compiled.
As I hope I've pointed out, everyone's got a right to their beliefs and opinions, it's just that we should admit some have more evidence for them than others. Jesus may have been married, but we have no historical evidence for it. MM was definately a disciple as the earliest records (the New Testament) declares, so this was hardly suppressed information. The Gnostic writings that seem to give her a more privileged place were written at least a century or more later, and were identified with marginal sects of Christianity like the Gnostics, and so were not up for serious consideration when the canon was compiled (incidentally, Constantine had nothing to do with the Canon, he simply gave Eusebius the resources to make 50 quality copies of "the Bible" as he [Eusebius] saw fit... the books of our modern day NT canon were largely agreed upon before Constantine came to power, with some books continuing to be disputed long after his death).

Quote:
Assuming Jesus was actually a god, its doubtful he could have kids with a mortal woman...
Anything is possible. How do we know what he could or could not do? According to Gnosticism it's very unlikely that he could have had such a relationship. Most Christians I've talked to say they don't see a problem if he was married, even if it is unlikely (though sadly a great number I've talked to claim being married would "make him more human" as if somehow unmarried people are "less human" which I think is odd logic).

Quote:
but if he did then its much more likely that they are everywhere, mixed in with everyone else in the world... rather than a single bloodline that is in hiding and protected. That is obviously a daft idea fit only for a fictional story.
I agree wholeheartedly. It seems extremely unlikely that there would be only ONE (or even two) living descendant(s) (and of course it would be a good looking woman) of somebody from 2,000 years ago.

Another thing that seems a bit silly about the whole deal is that, according to Brown, Jesus was nothing but an ordinary man (if a great moral teacher). If that's the case, why the big deal about his bloodline? Does anybody care if the descendents of Napolean or Attila the Hun are walking around today? How many people care about royal ancestry in our culture anymore, except as a point of trivia? If he's not divine, who CARES who his kids are?

Plus why would the "Priory" keep it a secret instead of just telling everyone? (and if they were trying to keep it a secret, why would Leonardo, a supposed "Grand Master" of the organization deliberately leave clues to the secret in public works of art, risking getting himself killed, since allegedly the Catholic church was out to kill anyone involved?). Revolutions in religion have been caused over seemingly petty issues (a King's divorce, the sale of indulgences, how much authority the Pope ought to have, etc.), this would seem a "sure bet."



Anyway, sorry for being long winded, those were the thoughts rattling around in my fevered brain, which I was unable to get out because of the board problems...

Seriously though, read the site, it explains a lot, and recommends some good scholarly sources if you're curious about these topics. It's hard to know the sheer lunacy of some of the claims until you've read the real history. But it really is fascinating stuff (but maybe I'm biased, heh).


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Old 06-06-2006, 06:17 PM   #31
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Awesome, it posted!

Well, I won't spam the thread further with more links and info, even though I'd love to, I already have been doing that on the IMDB boards for over a month (and let me tell you, I really appreciate the intelligence of this place after being there that long!), so I'll spare you all unless you want to talk about it further... heh

Also sorry for any typos, I'm rather tired...


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Old 06-07-2006, 01:27 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by toms
I do feel though that you can seperate out the basic "theme" of the novel and it has grains of truth... even if the specific storyline is daft.
All good propaganda has 'grains of truth.' That's why so many religious people freaked out over the book & movie - it has just enough 'grains of truth' to seem credible, even though it's just a bunch of hokey.


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Old 06-07-2006, 07:32 AM   #33
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You are posting from a library? Thats not fair!! I haven't even been in one for years..

I'd just like to point out that dan brown's book has had no effect whatsoever on my beliefs* about mary magdalene, jesus, the "truth" of the bible or the actions of the catholic church.

*I've never studied history, and don't have the time or even care that much about the religion to do so.. i just have a view general views formed over a lifetime of experiences with the thing.

Everything "controversial" claimed in the DaVinci code i'd already heard many times over, years before, in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and tv documentaries presented by much more credible sounding historians then Dan Brown.

It is quite possible that history has moved on since some of those views were popular, but frankly i'm not a historian and i can't keep track of whatever the latest prevaling view is at all times. However the historians and the facts they presented seemed credible enough to me at the time.

Whatever the merits of any historical view, its usualy only an educated guess based on incomplete evidence... so anything is always possible. The gaps in what we know about even our recent past always amaze me.. and historians analysing almost any period of history often seem to have fundamental disagreements about how to interpret evidence. I can merely pick up fragments of their opinions where i can and make uninformed decisions about what feels right to me.

The basic core of the DVC is that the bible isn't the "word of god" and is merely a collection of non-infallable writings assembled by non-infallable priests... and as such everything in it is subject to the natural human tendancy to apply one's own spin to the account.
Thats something i've felt long before a bad book came out about it.

What about the Dead Sea Scrolls? I'm not up to date on whether they are currently considered real or not. (or are they the gnostic bibles? i get confused).



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Old 06-07-2006, 12:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by toms
The basic core of the DVC is that the bible isn't the "word of god" and is merely a collection of non-infallable writings assembled by non-infallable priests... and as such everything in it is subject to the natural human tendancy to apply one's own spin to the account.
Thats something i've felt long before a bad book came out about it.
No, the basic core of DVC is that the Bible was assembled as some sort of misogynistic conspiracy at the Council of Nicea (where they also voted to decide whether Jesus would be divine or not). If it were as benign as you let on, no one would care.

And that DVC didn't change your perceptions of Jesus or Mary Magdalene really is irrelevant because, like you said, you don't care. There are lots of people out there who do care, and that's why the book is controversial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toms
What about the Dead Sea Scrolls? I'm not up to date on whether they are currently considered real or not. (or are they the gnostic bibles? i get confused).
The only Biblical documents found among the Dead Sea Scrolls were from the Old Testament of the Bible - books from the Jewish Torah. There were no gospels among the Dead Sea Scrolls, gnostic or otherwise.


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Old 06-07-2006, 01:23 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rccar328
All good propaganda has 'grains of truth.' That's why so many religious people freaked out over the book & movie - it has just enough 'grains of truth' to seem credible, even though it's just a bunch of hokey.
At first I thought maybe you were implying some element of the conspiracy was factual. Fair enough.


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Old 06-07-2006, 01:42 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toms
Everything "controversial" claimed in the DaVinci code i'd already heard many times over, years before, in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and tv documentaries presented by much more credible sounding historians then Dan Brown.
It's true, the ideas were developed between 1956 and 2000, basically (from Pierre Plantard to Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince) before Dan Brown. The thing is, none of the people proposing the conspiracy elements about Leonardo, Jesus, Mary M, the Templars, the Merovingians, the Priory, etc. were scholars in the relevant fields with any credible degree or standing. These were just amateur researchers and kooks. Of course a lot of people speculated, until Plantard was exposed as a fraud and admitted it in court. That was in the late 1970's. By that time any scholar worth his/her salt was laughing at the whole mess. The only reason anybody gives it attention now is the sheer popularity and hype surrounding the DVC for the past three years with the novel and now the movie (which was a critical flop but a financial success, especially internationally).

Quote:
It is quite possible that history has moved on since some of those views were popular, but frankly i'm not a historian and i can't keep track of whatever the latest prevaling view is at all times. However the historians and the facts they presented seemed credible enough to me at the time.
The thing is, there was never any evidence for it, except the Dossiers Secrets. All those documents "proved" was that there was some organization called the Priory of Sion, purportedly protecting a secret bloodline of the Merovingians. They never said anything about Jesus or Mary Magdalane or proved anything about the Holy Grail. Okay, so maybe the documents were real, but then they were proved to be forgeries planted in the library by Plantard and his cronies, so there's no way the Priory (which nobody had ever heard of until the con started) could be real, and thus the wild assertion by Baigent and company that it supported some bloodline of Jesus couldn't be true either. So the house of cards collapses right there.

So it's not as if the bloodline myth at one time was believed by the scholarly community. Like any new discovery, it'll be met with enthusiasm by some and skepticism by a great many, until it's been well documented and picked apart.
But from my understanding, the Priory hoax was met with as much scholarly acceptance as the reaction by genetic scientists to the recent claim by the Raelians that they'd cloned a human child and implanted it into the womb of a Virgin to be born on December 25th.

Quote:
Whatever the merits of any historical view, its usualy only an educated guess based on incomplete evidence... so anything is always possible. The gaps in what we know about even our recent past always amaze me.. and historians analysing almost any period of history often seem to have fundamental disagreements about how to interpret evidence.
True, but perhaps it's easier to keep an open mind IF one has never looked at the evidence. That's probably why a lot of people continue to believe the Priory hoax. They haven't looked at the evidence, they just look at the writings of people who BELIEVE it to be true (despite the lack of evidence and evidence to the contrary). Baigent in positively pathetic. In an interview he was asked by Tony Robinson point blank about the documents being proven forgeries and how De Sede tried to warn him and his co-authors before the book went to print that it was all fake and was ignored, and what he (Baigent) thought about that, and all he could say is that he'd seen the documents and was "satisfied" that they had to be real!

The key here is "educated guess." People can only make "guesses" based on their knowledge. The conspiracy theorists weren't that educated to begin with, and neither are the people who believe them, that's the trouble.

When we don't know the facts, we can believe anything we like. But that's a sloppy way to do research. It's one thing to admit you don't know it all and therefore just have a hunch something is true. It's another thing to assert your hunch IS the factual truth above all else. That's why the conspiracy theorists come under scrutiny by experts (who normally probably wouldn't waste their time with unfounded theories by laymen, except when they are this popular).

But, to the truly curious, the info is out there. You can look up all the relevant documents, records, paintings, translations, etc. without too much trouble. You could do most of it in an afternoon.

Quote:
I can merely pick up fragments of their opinions where i can and make uninformed decisions about what feels right to me.
That's key for understanding how the conspiracy theorists went about their "research." For example Margaret Starbird determined that Sarah was Mary Magdalane's daughter from Jesus by "praying about it."

Quote:
The basic core of the DVC is that the bible isn't the "word of god" and is merely a collection of non-infallable writings assembled by non-infallable priests... and as such everything in it is subject to the natural human tendancy to apply one's own spin to the account.
Ah, but the DVC claims that the Gnostic writings are "original unaltered Gospels" that portray a very human Jesus, that were suppressed by Constantine and the "Vatican." (the Vatican wasn't yet the headquarters of the Catholic church, but nevermind)

Claiming Christianity is not quite true is one thing, but their reasons why are phony, their evidence is phony and their alternate explanation is rubbish.

Quote:
What about the Dead Sea Scrolls? I'm not up to date on whether they are currently considered real or not. (or are they the gnostic bibles? i get confused).
The Dead Sea Scrolls are real. They're believed by the majority of scholars to have been penned and collected by the Essene sect at a place called Qumran. They were basically a monastic style Jewish community that believed the apocalypse was coming soon, a climactic battle between the "sons of darkness" (probably apostate Jews and Romans) and the "sons of light" (members of their community and their supporters). They wanted to practice pure Judaism away from the corruption of the Jerusalem Temple and corrupt priesthood. They practiced celibacy and purity, and copied texts, which included many of their own writings, but also almost all the texts of the "Old Testament," thereby giving us some of the earliest and best preserved copies of the OT books we have today. It is believed they were composed before and contempory with Jesus, but make no mention of Jesus or Christianity. They are not Christian documents, and have nothing to do with the Gnostic texts discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

Dan Brown mentions both sets of texts and apparently confuses them. He tries to claim that the Gnostic texts are "the real deal" while the New Testament is false, when in fact the NT texts predate the Gnostic writings and there is no evidence that Constantine tampered with them. And that's the opinion of non-Christian scholars as well.


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Old 06-08-2006, 08:31 AM   #37
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When i talked about the controversial parts of the novel i wasn't talking about the prioryof scion or the bloodline or any of that hokum. I was tlakingabout the fact i have numerous well respected history professors (as far as i can tell) write articles or present tv shows that gave similar views about mary magdalene and the early church.

Whether they wer true or not I can't say... and i doubt i could even find references to them now. But the mary magdalene = wife/disciple thing is something i've seen in lots of places over the year. I've always thought that was interesting, and much more interesting than the possiblity of kids... which is pretty irrelevant imho.

Jesus having human decendents that have long since become absorbed into the mass of humanity has no real impact on anything. I never thought it was much of a "shock ending" or anything.

Jesus having wife/female disciples has much more of an impact in that it overrides all the stupid arguments about men only priests, celibacy, women staying at home etc.. (the celibacy thing being something that cropped up in some strange extremist offshoot and then migrated to the main church if i remember rightly).
Most importantly it might actually be a good indication that jesus was what he claimed. Because for a son of god who theoretically would have known all about the past and future and not been bound by the expected social standards of the time he sure does seem to have been a pretty old fashioned, stuck in the past kind of guy.

If you want to believe in jesus in a modern age its much better to be able to believe that he actually was a more enlightened god... and that his image has been altered over the years by his contempraries aplying their own social standards and issues. Its sure better than the alternative..



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Old 06-08-2006, 09:39 AM   #38
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Quote:
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I hate to sound arrogant, but I guess I'll never get much out of religious thrillers... I just know too much! Ha... Gotta turn the ol' brain off sometimes I guess!
Have you seen "Stigmata"?

Anyways, My opinion on DVC:
It is a story, a work of fiction, much like all the christian fanatics overreacted to Harry Potter, they are doing the same thing here. Calling for the film/book to be banned as blasphemy says that they take it seriously, almost like they believe it could be true and that it is a threat to them in some way.
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Old 06-08-2006, 09:55 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by jon_hill987
Have you seen "Stigmata"?

Anyways, My opinion on DVC:
It is a story, a work of fiction, much like all the christian fanatics overreacted to Harry Potter, they are doing the same thing here. Calling for the film/book to be banned as blasphemy says that they take it seriously, almost like they believe it could be true and that it is a threat to them in some way.
Yes, and boy was it awful! A bad remake of the Exorcist married to a Madonna video.

I agree some people are overreacting, however simply because people are overreacting has no bearing on the truth or falsity of the historical claims made in the fiction of course.


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Old 06-08-2006, 10:22 AM   #40
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I think its ironic that it cannot even be demonstrated that Jesus was an actual, historical figure and not simply pure myth (of which there is a bit of evidence to suggest), but there are people who think there's "evidence" of a "bloodline" of Jesus.

For that to be true, it would imply that the Jesus myth is, indeed, a myth to begin with! A "bloodline" implies the correct number of chromosomes, etc. If J was born of a virgin, he only had 23 chromosomes (a feat that isn't possible in human genetics) or he was an exact clone of his mother (making him a woman and unable to have married M. Magdaline) with copies of her 46. -Where did he get his Y chromosome?


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