Lit & The Arts No Gospel in "Da Vinci Code" Claims, Scholars Say

Discussion in 'Literature & The Arts' started by helenheaven, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    No Gospel in \"Da Vinci Code\" Claims, Scholars Say

    Thought this might be an interesting topic for discussion...

    The secrets in The Da Vinci Code—Dan Brown's hugely successful best-seller—are hardly secret any more: Mary Magdalene was really the wife of Jesus. The two had a child and their descendants walk among us today.
    According to Brown, the truth was suppressed by the Catholic Church but handed down through centuries by a secret society that included Leonardo da Vinci, who hid clues about the union in his paintings.

    While the novel has spawned a whole cottage industry of museum tours and books exploring the credibility of this claim, Brown himself has stayed largely out of the spotlight.

    But in a National Geographic Channel documentary, Unlocking Da Vinci's Code: The Full Story, the reclusive author talks about his controversial theory.

    "I began as a skeptic," Brown says in the special, which premiered this past Sunday. "As I started researching The Da Vinci Code, I really thought I would disprove a lot of this theory about Mary Magdalene and holy blood and all of that. I became a believer."

    Most scholars interviewed in the documentary and elsewhere, however, say that Brown is relying on discredited sources and flimsy connections to make his bloodline theory.

    Still, most experts concede that the Church suppressed some early Christian writings that may have differed from the version of events described in the Bible. They also contend that Mary Magdalene, while not married to Jesus Christ, was probably a lot closer to Jesus than most people imagine.

    Gospel of Mary

    Mary Magdalene is one of the most elusive figures in Christianity. She has been depicted as a prostitute, though there is no evidence in the Bible for that.

    Instead, she was an intimate disciple of Jesus. All four gospels in the New Testament say she was present at both the Crucifixion of Jesus and the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection.

    But neither the Bible nor any other historical text identifies Mary as the wife of Jesus. A married woman at the time would have gone by her husband's name, but Mary was referred to as being from the town of Magdala.

    "This notion that she's talked about as being from this place indicates that she was independent," said Karen King, a history professor at Harvard Divinity School and a leading authority on Mary Magdalene.

    While it would have been unusual for a Jewish man like Jesus Christ to not be married, it was not unheard of.

    "The really odd thing would be to have Mary married to Jesus and have them next to each other in the same text [in the Bible] and for it not to be mentioned," King said. "That for me is quite conclusive that they were not married."

    One of Brown's sources is a controversial text known as the Gospel of Mary. It is believed to have been written in the second century by a Christian sect and is generally accepted as authentic, even by the Church. However, the text's veracity and importance are very much up for debate.

    Although the Gospel of Mary does not show any evidence of Jesus Christ and Mary being married, it suggests their relationship was stronger than it is described in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Mary, Jesus Christ reveals deep theological insights to Mary, who appears to understand his teachings better than his male disciples do.

    Power Struggle

    Brown's assertion that the divinity of Jesus Christ was an invention by the Roman emperor Constantine in A.D. 325 is widely dismissed by scholars—Christ's divinity had already been described in the New Testament.

    But many scholars agree that a power struggle raged within the early Christian church, especially over the role of women. Beginning in the fifth century, Catholic leaders began referring to Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, perhaps because they wanted to undermine women's ability to use Mary Magdalene's example as an argument for greater power.

    "Brown tells people something they didn't know, that the early history of Christianity was much more complicated than anybody thought," said Joseph Kelly, a professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

    The theory proposed in Brown's novel is that Mary Magdalene and her daughter, Sara, were whisked away to France after Christ's death. There, the descendants of Jesus and Mary intermarried with French kings, creating the so-called Merovingian dynasty. But there is no evidence of such a child or bloodline in any verifiable documents.

    The Last Supper

    Brown, however, believes that a secret society known as the Priory of Sion was established to protect the descendants of this royal bloodline.

    In the early 1960s a set of documents was discovered at a French library that appeared to list the members of this secret society. The names included famous scientists and artists like Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci.

    At the heart of Brown's novel is the suggestion that da Vinci hid clues about the secret of Jesus and Mary within one of his masterpieces, "The Last Supper."

    Conspicuously missing from da Vinci's painting is the cup, also known as the Holy Grail, from which Jesus Christ is believed to have drunk on the night before his execution.

    But Brown says the Holy Grail is included in the painting. Only it's not a cup but a person: Christ's supposed wife, Mary Magdalene. He says the person seated at the right of Jesus is not the apostle John but Mary Magdalene.

    "If you look at that painting, it's clearly a woman," Brown says in the documentary.

    Art historians and religious scholars, however, scoff at the idea. Although the person to the right of Christ appears effeminate—with long flowing hair and no beard—they say that's how John is usually depicted in most works of art.

    In fact, there is no evidence that da Vinci was a member of the Priory of Sion or that such a society even existed. The secret files found at the French library were later deemed to be a hoax, scholars say.
  2. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Intresting read. I myself have not read the book. I began reading it but quit shortly because of conflitng inntrests. I did get far enough to read that Brown listed famous classical composers as members of the sect and secret society. LIke Debusy... Saying that they lfet messsages in their music. I duno Ive throughly examed alot of classical music and gone into history of compsers and what they were doing with the work.

    As for how it stands on the church. I don't see why people are making such a big deal about it. THere are many books that proclaim radical Ideas all the time. THis guy just managed to make his belieavible. COngrats to Dan Brown becasue he is a good author. All this proves is that people are guillible. I don't doubt that his logiccould be true and that his sources may be correct but the order in which it is intrepreted is up for grabs. Somone who belives the Dogma of the Catholic Church believes that all that is said we belive in is Divinely inspired and is true.

    As for church cover ups. OF Course there were. Think of the time. In the whole middle ages the relgious leaders had all the power. People bacame deacons cardnals bsishops and preists jsut to have political and govermental power. Or they were in it for the money. ANd when power is invlved it can cause alot of troubble.

    Just my 3 cents:p
  3. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

  4. Aubiefan05

    Aubiefan05 Member

    I think that the book can be viewed in two different ways: to be enjoyed as the gripping and well-written murder mystery that it is, or as an attempt to make a thinly veiled statement about volatile issues. I loved the book, and 'Angels & Demons" as well, and even though I have a Catholic background, I didn't think the books were offensive, although I was not surprised that some people reacted negatively to them.

    I have actually read a lot about the issues discussed, the book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" (which is actually mentioned in 'The DaVinci Code') was pretty thought-provoking, and others in the same vein definitely gave me a lot of food for thought.
    I don't totally believe everything that Brown proposed, but I don't think it is all totally impossible, either. I DO believe that there's a lot we don't know about Jesus as a historical (as opposed to spiritual), and that research into those issues will probably always be extremely "tricky" because so many people are fundamentalists and feel threatened by questions.
    In a nutshell, I loved the book for its value as a novel, and I liked the fact that it made me think. I don't agree with those that say it's ruining people's faiths, because if your faith was unstable enough to be shaken down by a fictional book, it wasn't very deeply rooted to begin with.
    Great topic, it's definitely a good one for discussion, I can't wait to see other people's opinions on it. :moon:
  5. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Thank you for saying that! I've told people that I know who were "Violated" By the book and they jsut said OH well you havent read the book!

    PS I've changed my vocation if there is one to be saught. No longer want to be apreist but a saleisean Brother. I think kids are afreid to go to preist with their problems and I don't want that because thats the whole point of my vocation.;) ( thought that was as goood a place as any to post that)
  6. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    I don't like religion. I say go directly to god. What's wrongwith that?

    Do you really need an intermediary between you and god?
    Do you think that w/o a intermediary you might end up praying to
    Satan? Is there a slot out there that, if you don't prepare
    right, the prayers might hit the slot improperly and go to da
    devil? Do you think your religion makes sure your prayers are
    guaranteed to go to god and not the devil? Think about it.
    I have known for decades that to make the bauble, they left
    out 40 other gospels from the 1st and 2nd centuries. Deal w/
    it. Deal w/ the fact that all religions are built on
    falsehoods. You poor Pagans!
  7. oddtodd

    oddtodd Premium Member

    agreed , but chill ....

    The sister board handles these issues...
  8. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member


    This site is not really about discussing this matter, please post this on ATS and I am sure you will drum up some great conversations. But, this is not really ID material.
  9. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

  10. Icewolf

    Icewolf Premium Member

    I tried not to read any posts in here, because I've just started the book and was aftraid of spoilers, what was your opinion of it, (anyone who has seen it)
  11. Ikebana

    Ikebana Member

    The Last Supper painted by da Vinci...all these questions about WHO was really in the painting with Jesus? Some of the "experts" claim there is a 'woman' possibly Magdalene, whereas other "experts" claim that it was a very young boyish John. Because of the disagreements of the "experts" there are claims that indeed IF it were a woman, that it would CHANGE the Christian claims etc etc etc. Now, I do not consider myself any longer a Christian in the sense of an organized religious sect, however I was raised very strictly in biblical instruction throughout childhood, having had to read the Christian bible more than a dozen times before adulthood and memorization of hundreds of bible text, so it isn't like I don't have an understanding of the Christian Faith as taught by the organized Christian religious sects.......BUT I don't see any big uprising in Christianity simply because of a "painting" of The Last Supper, because that is exacly what it is.......a PAINTING......done by a 'man' named da Vinci. Like all painter/artists you will get the ideas and renditions of the artist...regardless if it was commissioned by the church or not. The Pagans, when forced to convert to Christianity and build the churches over the spots considered sacred to the Pagans, would incorporate all kinds of Pagan symbols in the Christian buildings. Look at the old churches and see the "Man Of The Woods" carved into the buildings, sometimes called "Jack Of The Glen" as well as others. I don't see why all the hoorah over a painting, as being something that will shake the foundations of the Christian religion whether the figure is male of female, because the bible tells Christians who was at the last supper...not some artist's canvas. What do you think?
  12. switchblade

    switchblade Member

    I had heard years ago that Jesus' desendants are among us, and were closely guarded by the Knight's Templars - a masonic group. Good post, I was starting to wonder what all the hype was about this particular story.
  13. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    Alot of Leonardo's painting are INCOMPLETE. OF all the painting he have done, "The Last Supper" was a complete failure. The "Mona Lisa" took him approximately 16 years and yet is still incomplete. This man is very into perfection, it was his greatest gift and curse.

    IF I remember from my reading correctly, it was Judas on the table that was the problem for the painting, secondly he was experimenting with a new techniques of painting hat he invented at that time (and that technique failed).

    As you can see, his new technique and the placement of Judas on the painting together (both failed) cause immense frustration for Leonardo.

    As time goes on and men wage war, that place that Leonardo painted the last supper got bombed but luckily the wall that contains that painting was not heavily damaged. And so was put back but then alot of retouch has to be done.

    Edit: forgot to add:
    From the retouching comes alot of interpretation. You have alot of great artist that try to paint the Last Supper, and there's now many variation out there, ALL trying to fix the placement of Judas
  14. pennywiseroxmysox

    pennywiseroxmysox New Member

    I thought the book was great. It had an excellent plot and it made you want to keep reading. To anyone who has read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, was the book worth reading?
  15. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    The book overall, was to contiplate the doubts that people have about the stories out there. I myself have never read the book but I have heard enough about it around friends that makes me feel like I did read it. As time progresses and documents unfold or found, truth will come out. But alot of things have been destroyed or damaged or improperly secured thru the ages in order to get all the answers. But your beliefs and faith is what makes you, you.
  16. oortpower

    oortpower Member

    Well, The Da Vinci Code has some fact, some fiction and a lot of interpretation. Da Vinci was in the Priory of Sion, and the Knights Templar were linked until they split. Godfry De Bouillon founded the Priory of Sion after conquering Jerusalem in the 1st Crusade (or was it before?). Knights Templar did make wierd round churches and used them as banks, but there is little hard evidence linking them to any Holy item or bloodline. Although Godfrey De Bouillon was present in the city of Antioch when the Holy Spear has supposedly found by Peter Bartholomew. The Knights Templar were all exterminated at the wish of the Papacy. Theie rivals the Hospittalers then became the only large order of knights in the middle east at that time. THe Holy blood theory has nothing to prove it right or wrong. A major beef I have with it though is the fact that everything in Da Vinci's paintings are taken for being truth, if that was true then the art of Picasso prove that everybody is angular and our eyes are messed up. If Bosch is right then everybody walks around with giant birds and fruit getting laid.