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The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown

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This entry provides a brief look at The Da Vinci Code. For in-depth information we refer you to our collection of research resources.

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Is Dan Brown a Christian?

[...Continued from...] Newspaper articles report that Dan Brown was raised Christian. On his own website, Brown claims that he is a Christian, but then shows that he is very confused as to what a Christian is:

Yes. Interestingly, if you ask three people what it means to be Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel being baptized is sufficient. Others feel you must accept the Bible as immutable historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as their personal savior are doomed to hell. Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious--that is, that we are all trying to decipher life's big mysteries, and we're each following our own paths of enlightenment. I consider myself a student of many religions. The more I learn, the more questions I have. For me, the spiritual quest will be a life-long work in progress.
Source: The Da Vinci Code - FAQs Official Website of Dan Brown Last accessed online, July 17, 2004

A Christian is a follower of the historical Jesus as presented in the Bible. Christians hold to the essential teachings of the Bible. Alan Gomes writes that "'Central doctrines' of the Christian faith are those doctrines that make the Christian faith Christian and not something else.", and says, "The meaning of the expression "Christian faith" is not like a wax nose, which can be twisted to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean."

Someone who, even though he claims to be a Christian, rejects orthodoxy in favor of heresy is a heretic - a person considered to be outside of the Christian faith.

Fiction Presented As Fact

Though it is a fictional story, Brown claims - both in the book and in interviews - that it is based on fact. However, while Publishers Weekly says the book is "exhaustively researched," it includes so many erroneous statements that it prompted one reviewer to refer to the novel as an "atrociously researched mess."

The problem, it seems, is that some people have taken the story to be true. Indeed, Brown has encouraged this confusion by insisting upon the book’s historical accuracy. Asked in an interview how much of the novel is based on fact, he replied: “All of it.”

Brown has argued that historical arguments are themselves suspect because history is written “by those societies and belief systems that conquered and survived.” This is a cop-out. It is disingenuous for Brown to present his book as factual and then hide behind questions like “how historically accurate is history itself?” He should stick to fiction.
Source: Breaking the Code, by Maurice Timothy Reidy, Commonweal, Sep. 13, 2003. Last accessed online, July 17, 2004.

So error-laden is The Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions where Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth. [...] In the end, Dan Brown has penned a poorly written, atrociously researched mess.
Source: Dismantling The Da Vinci Code By Sandra Miesel, Crisis, Sep. 1, 2003. Last accessed online, July 17, 2004

The book is an incredible rummage sale of accurate historical nuggets alongside falsehoods and misleading statements. The bottom line: it is a shame the book does not come coded for "black light” like the pen used by Sauničre in the book to record his dying words. That way readers could scan the book under black light and see which “facts” are trustworthy and which patently not. And perhaps even more importantly (if a black light could do this!), show the gray area where the author is dealing with very complex issues with a broad brush that misrepresents in service of sensational effect.

People should enjoy this book as fiction, but certainly not consider it to be uniformly historically reliable.

This list is by no means exhaustive but only representative. We would need a full editorial and bibliographic full-press to present the “black light” edition, which neither you nor I have the time to do, and which would make it something other than a novelistic thriller. However, these examples should serve sufficiently to refute Brown’s prefatory statement, presented under the headline “Fact” in boldprint: “all descriptions of ...documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”
Source: Margaret M. Mitchell, PhD, in Lake Magazine, Fall 2003, quoted in the "further reading" section of Not InDavincible, by J.P. Holding. Last accessed online, July 17, 2004

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About This Page:

• Subject: The Da Vinci Code : Dan Brown
• First posted: Jul. 17, 2004
• Editor: Anton Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index

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