Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Da Vinci Code Madness ! ? !

Let me cite here my top quotes from or about the DVC:

1. Stupidest quotes from the DVC (and there was a long list to choose from!)

“The Grail,” Langdon said, “is symbolic of the lost goddess. When Christianity came along, the old pagan religions did not die easily. Legends of chivalric quests for the lost Grail were in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost sacred feminine. Knights who claimed 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 nonbelievers, and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine. (pp. 238-39).

“These are photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea scrolls, which I mentioned earlier,” Teabing said. “The earliest Christian records. Troubling, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible.” (pp. 245-46).

2. Most interesting quote from the DVC (in the sense that it provokes thought about the nature of faith and religious language).

Langdon smiled. “Sophie, every faith is 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. Every religion described God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors … The bible represents a fundamental guidepost for millions of people on the planet … Those who understand their faiths understand the stories as metaphorical.” (DVC pp. 341-42).

3. Best quotes about the DVC from scholars (not written by anyone from Harvard or Vanderbilt Divinity school where DVC probably features as the text book for NT 101)

“I should emphasize that even though Christianity is based ultimately on the life and ministry of Jesus, it is much more than that. Traditional Christianity is the belief that he died for the sins of the world and was raised from the dead. Technically speaking, Christianity could not begin until someone proclaimed Jesus was raised from the dead. It appears that the first to do so was Mary Magdalene. If so, as I argued in the previous chapter, Mary really is the one who started Christianity. There could scarcely be a more significant woman for the history of Western civilization–or man, for that matter–who is at the same time less known than Mary Magdalene.” (Bart Ehrman, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene).

“Those who were thrown to the lions were not reading ‘Thomas’ or Q or the ‘Gospel of Mary.’ They were reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the rest, and being sustained thereby in a subversive mode of faith and life which, growing out of apocalyptic Judaism, posed a far greater threat to Roman empire and pagan worldviews than Cynic philosophy or Gnostic spirituality ever could. Why would Caesar worry about people rearranging their private spiritualities?” (Tom Wright)

A few pages of the most controversial quotes from DVC can be found here


Michael Pahl said...

Mike, when I read the book myself and came across the quote about the DSS being the "earliest Christian records" I burst out laughing. I had hoped for Dan Brown's sake that this was a deliberate plant (i.e. "Don't take this book too seriously!"). Alas, it doesn't appear to have been so...

Stephen Hebert said...

I agree. Where was it that I read that Dan Brown's research was "impeccable"? That DSS quote is priceless.

For the record: The Da Vinci Code has not made it on to the Intro to the NT syllabus here at Harvard...yet. [actually, most folks I've talked to here seem to think it's just a good ol' work of fiction...nothin' more...but probably a lot less....]

Michael F. Bird said...

I didn't really expect anyone from Harvard or Vanderbilt to read my blog! I shall have to learn to temper my humour or else I'm going to offend a lot of people.

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

S.Hebert said:
"For the record: The Da Vinci Code has not made it on to the Intro to the NT syllabus here at Harvard...yet."

Which raises another question, why are evangelicals spending so much energy launching an apologetical blitz against such a ridiculous piece of trash?

J. B. Hood said...

Mike and Michael,

Haven't you heard? The Teacher of Righteousness is Jesus. Of course. (Michael, I went audible on that one as well.)


What are you saying, that I shouldn't postpone my dissertation and the lives of my children by writing a book-length response to the DaVinci Code?

I just finished the book yesterday--an interesting, lively read; he's quite a writer. I wish I'd read it before I taught a NT intro course earlier this winter as it would have made a good discussion piece.

Michael Pahl said...

Response to CSB: I plan on doing some speaking at local churches back in Canada on the DVC when I return there in June. I personally hate to devote the time and energy into publicly de-bunking the book, and I certainly won't make any money or achieve any fame doing so. Why will I do this? A recent poll put 17% of Canadians (22% in my home province) as believers in the basic claims of DVC and related books. Sure, there are books out doing the de-bunking, but lots of people won't read the books but they'll come to something in person. I'd much prefer to leave it alone and not waste my time on it, but I see this sort of public response as part of my calling as a scholar-teacher. Besides, it can be a great way to get people interested in some good history related to the New Testament and earliest Christianity.