Dan Brown's 2003 best-seller, The Da Vinci Code, makes some outrageous historical claims about Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Despite being a work of fiction, the author presents these claims as historical fact: "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
In fact, almost nothing Brown claims about art, history, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Bible, secret documents or the Catholic Church is either true or accurate. In addition to books, articles and websites, the following pages give a detailed look at some of Dan Brown's more fantastic claims. Where possible, there are links to disinterested, secular sources.
Story of The Da Vinci Code:
Brown’s alleged historical facts (and the truth behind the fiction):
Pages in order
Philip Jenkins, Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way, (Oxford 2001). Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Written two years before the appearance of Brown's work, Hidden Gospels offers a scholarly critique of all of Brown's supposed sources. Jenkin's shows that the theories in the DVC are neither new, nor historically well-grounded. Jenkins shows that the DVC is part of long and ignoble tradition in popular entertainment:
|Bart D. Ehrman, Truth and
Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know
about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine, (Oxford, 2004).
Ehrman is the James A. Gray Professor and chair of the Department of
Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. He is the author of Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not
Make it into the New Testament and Lost Christianities: The
Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. He is no
champion of "orthodoxy," but he is a reputable
historian. As he says in his Introduction (xiii):
|Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel, The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code, (Ignatius, 2004). The best critique from a Christian perspective. It not only discusses the historical errors, but background on what gnosticism really is and why Brown's book is so popular.||Amy Welborn, De-coding Da Vinci (Our Sunday Visitor, 2004). A concise treatment of the problems of Brown's work. It is intended for a popular audience.|
|Richard Abanes, The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenging Response to the Bestselling Novel, (Harvest House Publishers, 2004).||Hank Hanegraaff and Paul L. Maier, The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004).|
|Erwin W. Lutzer, The Da Vinci Deception, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004).||Shawn McDonnell, Preaching Another Jesus: Decoding Dan Brown's Davinci Code Hoax, (Lulu Press, 2004).|
|Darrell L. Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code : Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, (Nelson Books, 2004).||James Garlow, Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts, (Cook Communications, 2004).|
Jesus Decoded - an official response from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Contains information about an upcoming documentary to air on NBC affiliates, as well as other resources. Of special note:
Sandra Miesel, Dismantling The Da Vinci Code.
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