NationStates Jolt Archive

The Da Vinci Code

07-04-2004, 03:20
Anyone read this book?

If you haven't, get your hands on a copy. I command you. :p

For those who have read it, what are your views on the claims Dan Brown made about the Holy Grail? Probable, possible, or BS?

I'd go with probable. The Church has a history of corruption. I wouldn't put a cover up like this past them. If it weren't for the fact that the Church is so messed up, I'd probably be a Christian. But they're all @^#&*s, so I'm Agnostic.

I think I'll email Jack Chick and tell him to get this book... If he's smart enough to understand the cover. O_o
07-04-2004, 03:45
Actually, its anice little conspiracy story, but thats about it.

Dan Brown does a great job of butchering history. He makes tremendous jumps in logic that Evil Kenivul wouldn't try.

Seriously, every Medival chruch in Europe was built by the Templars? Not likely.

The Mona Lisa also happens to be the name of the wife of one of DaVinci's patrons.

I have also read the books that Brown cited as resources. He makes them out to be a lot bigger deals than they really are.
07-04-2004, 03:52
I haven't read it, what is it about?

I've read all the texts of Leanardo himself though (an English translation)
07-04-2004, 03:57
I haven't read it, what is it about?

Pressumibly about Da Vinci and some code of his.
Amor of Germ Nation
07-04-2004, 04:01
Firstly, I'd like to say that you don't have to be in the Catholic Church to be a Christian. There are quite a lot of other Christian Churches (armenic, ethiopian, egyptian a.s.o.). Actually, you don't have to be the member of any church to follow the Christian ideas, because the actual idea of Christianity is to be nice to one another (see first chapter of Hitchhiker's Guide).
Secondly, I've read the book. Yes, it's full of suspense, full of new "facts". I recommend it, it's a brilliant read. But about the topic itself there have been so many books! I've studied history, and what I found out ist, that many historians only quote other historians without checking facts and documents. Also, there are lots of forged documents, especially from the medieval ages (e.g. the Constantinian donation), not to speak of medieval documents about the beginning of the first millenium, so you can't really tell what's true or probable and what's not. A quite interesting book is "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" from 1982. But here you see, that even if the authors try to stick to the facts (from documents), they still have to speculate a lot.
Still, if you're interested in the topic, get the Sierra computer game "Gabriel Knight 3". It's great fun. But remember, it's just a game! :twisted:
07-04-2004, 04:03
I haven't read it, but a good friend has. It is an interesting idea, I wouldn't put it past the Catholic church, as another poster had previously mentioned the Catholich Church is full of cover ups.

One thing I found interesting though is the painting of the last supper. In the book it talks about this painting and several others, but if you look at the paiting you will see the things talked about in the book. The extra hand, the signs, and some others (i won't spoil it).
07-04-2004, 04:04
It's never been really discovered who Mona Lisa is, He made the painting for no one, he just did it.

Da Vinci Code is a brillant novel, it is a conspriacy story. Highly recommend read.

Now that i think of it, I congratulate everyone has read it, since it is a coffee table read (aka one you should read) Good to see there is people still reading.
07-04-2004, 04:08
Actually, the Davinci code is good fiction but horrible horrible scholarship. Its full of humongous mistakes that are contested by a great many historians and archeologists. The man didn't even get the date of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls right! It was found in the late forties not fifties. If he can't get something as elementary as that right, how much else could be trusted? Also, he always talks about the effects the dead Sea Scrolls had on Christianity....The dead Sea Scrolls were hidden in caves years before Christ was born..the man butchered history.
07-04-2004, 04:10
I know I don't have to be part of the Church to be a Christian, but they disgust me enough that I don't want anything to do with them.

And where does it say every medival church in Europe was built by the Templars? I don't remember seeing that... O_o
Amaranthine Asphodel
07-04-2004, 04:19
Also, he always talks about the effects the dead Sea Scrolls had on Christianity....The dead Sea Scrolls were hidden in caves years before Christ was born..the man butchered history. I agree this has been overemphasised by Brown. But what you say doesn't mean the writings there had no effect on Christianity. Had the Old Testament no effect on Christianity???

I found this article interesting...

The secret world of the new Gnostics

In America ‘The Da Vinci Code’ has just become the most successful hardback novel ever published. But its success is merely the latest triumph for an obscure, 2000-year-old Christian sect. Peter Stanford reports.

Judge it by its cover, and you might imagine that Dan Brown'’ The Da Vinci Code is just another trashy airport novel, with no greater claim to literary significance than as an untaxing way to fill a couple of empty hours on a plane. Yet in America, this conspiracy thriller has just displaced Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County as the most successful hardback novel ever published. The print run currently stands at 6.2 million copies and rising.

Last week it shot straight to the top of Britain’s paperback fiction bestseller charts, with W.H. Smith reporting “frantic” sales; its publishers are confident it will be one of the year’s top five selling novels.

In Australia 90,000 paperback copies have been sold and the novel has been on the bestseller list for three months.

Rivals are already scrambling to cash in on its popularity, with a flood of spin-offs to his the shelves in spring: Secrets of the Cod: the Unauthorised Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code; The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code – Answers to the Questions Everybody’s Asking. So just what are these questions that “everybody is asking” and how has an apparently routine thriller, panned by critics for its lumpen prose style, achieved such dizzying commercial success?

The key lies in the obscure and ancient religious sect of Gnosticism. For as well as touching all the bases required of a mass-market thriller, The Da Vinci Code gives readers what amounts to a history lesson on long-buried Gnostic writings, hitherto largely an academic preserve. Beguilingly, Brown presents Gnosticism as the twin sister that Christianity has kept licked in the cellars under St Peter’s since the second century because it could not stomach its freedom-loving, gay-friendly, anarchic take on God.

“I’m in no doubt as to why The Da Vinci Code has done so well in the States,” says Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton, an expert on Gnosticism and author of Beyond Belief (Macmillian), an account of the Gnostic Secret Gospel of Thomas, published this month.

“By going back to these Gnostic gospels that few have heard of until now, Dan Brown’s novel raises an intriguing question in the readers’ minds: ‘If we didn’t know about the ancient writings he has used, what else don’t we know about, what has been hidden from us or edited out by official religion?’ And that question is being asked at a time when many spiritually inclined people in America are profoundly disillusioned with authority in the churches, not least in Catholicism, because of the paedophile-priest issue.

“So Gnosticism has a very timely revolutionary appeal – the chance of achieving a sense of the spiritual, through a time-honoured channel, without the need for flawed churches and institutions.”

If The Da Vinci Code has set off a stampede to rediscover the ancient Gnostic sect that lies at the heart of the book’s plot, then there are also other signs in modern culture that this almost forgotten creed is making a comeback. Madonna and Britney Spears are two of those who have been attracted by the mysticism of the ancient Jewish Kabbalah, itself heavily influenced by Gnosticism. Meanwhile Keanu Reeves’s all-action blockbuster movie series, The Matrix, is, its devotees have argued in exhaustive detail, a Gnostic parable about finding a perfect world away from Earth.

Gnosticism has also been identified, by the author among others, as one part of the inspiration for Philip Pillman’s award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy. Philip K. Dick, the sci-fi novelist whose works are currently top of Hollywood’s wish list for adaptations (to follow in the footsteps of his Blade Runner, Total Recall and, most recently, Minority Report), was reportedly obsessed with Gnosticism. And as the ultimate endorsement, Time magazine has run a cover story on the sudden popularity of Gnosticism and how “more and more people are turning to ancient texts to develop their own religious rites”.

The Gnostics – from the Greek word [i]gnosis or knowledge (hence agnosis or lack of knowledge) – existed at the birth of Christianity. No historian has ever felt confident enough to say which of the two came first. And for almost 200 years following Jesus’s death, Gnostic views were as influential as those we now associate with mainstream Christianity.

The Gnostics believed individuals could attain mystical knowledge through divine revelation. They were a holy, impractical bunch who largely rejected this world as flawed – some saw it as the creation of the Devil – and so sought through asceticism, celibacy and fasting to hasten death and reunion with God. They recorded their revelations from above in gospels about Jesus’s life which told a very different story from the official New Testament versions, and which were destroyed when the Gnostics were suppressed as heretics by the church fathers at the end of the second century.

However, in 1945 at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, an ancient jar was unearthed containing Gnostic gospels. It is on these texts that Dan Brown bases the denouement of his plot. According to his novel, the Gnostic Gospels of Philip and Mary show that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers (though this interpretation is disputed), and fearing revelation of this would destroy the Church, the Catholic establishment has carried out a series of murders to keep the secret from leaking out.

There is a certain historical justice in Brown’s suggestion that the Catholic Church has been willing to kill to stop people hearing about Gnosticism. The Cathars (or Albigensians) in southern France in the 13th century were Gnostics who rejected the trappings and intrigue of organised religion; who (unlike Catholicism) treated men and women as equal before God; who had few of Christianity’s hang-ups about sex; and who stood apart from the materialism, politics and corruption of the world, seeing it as the work of humankind, and sought a higher, purer way of life. Rome so feared the good example that the Cathars offered that it condemned them as heretics and set up the Inquisition to kill them off and write them out of the authorised version of history.

But you can’t keep a good story down, and the broadcaster and novelist Kate Mosse is among those riding the Gnostic new wave. Her Cathar-based novel, Labyrinth, due for publication in 2005, was sold at auction after a fierce bidding war among publishers.

“I see Westerd society right now as being in search of something enduring to believe in, something with potential to raise our eyes to the horizon at a time of war, religious hatred and what seems awfully like a new crusade,” Mosse says. “And Gnosticism, I think, offers the possibility that the answer is there within us and always has been.”

But award-winning author Michele Robers, who has also written about the Gnostic Cathars (in her novel The Wild Girl), sounds a note of caution. “I’m glad to say I thought myself out of Gnosticism about 20 years ago. Back then I could see its attraction – feeling free of any institutional constraints on being spiritual, a way for ordinary people to seek divine enlightenment. But if the new adherents get beyond the desire to look groovy and radical and really start looking at what Gnosticism was all about, they are in for a nasty shock.

“The Gnostics split spirit and matter, and saw matter as evil. They believed that men were spirit and women were matter. So, yes, there may have been some Cathars who allowed women a role – usually only after they had had sex with an enlightened man – but at heard Gnosticism was profoundly anti-woman and one of its greatest influences on Christianity was to make it the same.”

So beyond the initial thrill for The Da Vinci Code readers or Matrix Reloaded viewers of discovering this skeleton in Christianity’s closet there lie some unpleasant choices if they want to take on board Gnosticism with the traditional zeal of a convert. The bottom line is its rejection of everything to do with this world as flawed and evil – homes, cars, money, all that is matter, not spirit.

Given such strictures, it is perhaps unsurprising that, despite the numbers of those expressing a fashionable interest in Gnosticism, few are actually signing up. Not that this anti-institutional philosophy has ever been much given to organisation. The handful of British Gnostic movements is apparently so other-worldly that they don’t answer their phones, if indeed they have such evil contraptions.

As the phenomenon of The Da Vinci Code spreads around the globe – a Hollywood film deal has already been signed – Gnosticism will doubtless have its 15 minutes of fame as shorthand for the age-old yearning for there to be something more to this world than meets the eye. As an enthusiastic New York reader tells other Amazon readers about Dan Brown’s book, “It will only take you a few hours to read and it changes your entire perspective on religion, the church, and life.”
–The Independent.