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The Da Vinci Code Revisited

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  Quote poirot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Da Vinci Code Revisited
    Posted: 25-May-2005 at 01:55

I would like to begin a discussion about the Da Vinci Code.  I am sure that the book has been discussed in length ever since it came off the shelves in 2003.  It might bave been discussed in the old forum.  But I would like to listen to what amateur historians and interesting individuals such as yourselves have to say about the boook, if you read it.

Warning: If you have not read the Da Vinci Code, do not read further because spoilers are ahead.

First, I would like to point out that the Da Vinci Code is, despite its interesting ideas, a work of fiction.  The various "facts" that were incorporated in the book about the Priority of Sion were mostly fabricated.  Examples:

The documents, Dossier des Secrets, was made up by a Frenchman who also turned out to be an Anti-Semite.

There were two Priorities of Sion, one medieval and one modern, and none had to do with perserving the Holy Grail.

There is very little textual evidence of a marital bond between Jesus and Mary Madgalene.

If you were to dig up the Louvre, you probably will not find the Holy Grail.

etc etc etc

For more information, you can borrow the televised documentary about the Da Vinci code aired on ABC.

Having understood that the Da Vinci Code is purely a work of fiction, why does it interest so many Americans,  why does it stir up so much debate about religion, and why do so many religious organizations disapprove of the book?

I think that the Da Vinci Code has more appeal in the United States than in Europe because the U.S. is a primarily a Protestant country.  Most Americans have diverging religious ideas from that of the Pope, and even American Catholics often complain about the conservative nature of Vatican Catholicism.

Despite its fictional details, the Da Vinci Code conjures up and reflects a more modern approach on religion and sexual politics.  Did Emperor Constantine really change Christianity by erasing Mary Magadelene's role?  Probably not.  Most Americans are not even certain whether Mary Magadelene existed.  Did earlier religious leaders significantly diminish the role of females in the Church, albeit in a smaller scale than described in the novel?  Probably yes. 

Most of the world's major religions or philosophical doctrines - Christianity, Islam, Judaism - are paternal and biased against the female.  In the Bible, God is defined as He, a benevolent patriarch.  We are constantly reminded of the sins that Eve committed by eating the wicked apple.  As most of the world's historical societies evolved to become paternal and male oriented, so did their religions.  Religions doctrine such as that of Adam and Eve helped to reinforce masculine dominance over its feminine counterpart for centuries.

During his visit to America, Pope John Paul II was approached by a female American Catholic who pleaded him to consider allow more women into the clergy.  The good pope blessed her, but turned away from the topic.  There is very little evidence that the new pope, Benedict XVI, will ever allow major female participation in the clergy.

I will end my comments and turn to you, my friends, and listen to what you have to offer in this discussion.

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  Quote poirot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 04:44

Here are some of the paintings relavent to the book, just to refresh your memories!

The Last Supper:

The Madonna of the Rocks:

The Mona Lisa



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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 06:01
Having understood that the Da Vinci Code is purely a work of fiction, why does it interest so many Americans,  why does it stir up so much debate about religion, and why do so many religious organizations disapprove of the book?


Because its much easier to read than Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
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  Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 06:14
Originally posted by Cywr



Because its much easier to read than Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

I don't understand you, that's certainly the most straightforward and clear book I've read.
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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 10:51

Originally posted by Cywr

Having understood that the Da Vinci Code is purely a work of fiction, why does it interest so many Americans,  why does it stir up so much debate about religion, and why do so many religious organizations disapprove of the book?


Because its much easier to read than Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Foucault's Pendulum hard to read,  Dr. Zhivago  in russian would be easier

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  Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 10:58
Having understood that the Da Vinci Code is purely a work of fiction, why does it interest so many Americans, why does it stir up so much debate about religion, and why do so many religious organizations disapprove of the book?


For many Americans, the books provides their first experience into critically examining their religion. The novel raises the possibility that humans may have changed the story of what actually happened to advance a political goal.

No preacher likes having their version of the story challanged. First, some of them actually believe that what the Bible has is the actual words of god. Second, many know that the Bible is nonsense, but they don't want some bestseller novelist to come along and ruin the con(well, maybe they are not as cynicall as I describe them, but they do dislike being challanged.)

In fact, the vast majority of American Christian ministers are very ignorant about their religion themselves. They cannot answer simple challanges to the faith, and they resort to defensive and evassive tactics.
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  Quote Kentuckian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 18:24

I am a sort-of Catholic meaning I grew up as a catholic, but no longer care for religion.

the da vinci had little religious signifigance to me(see Angels and Demons, it's much more interesting in that regard), but it is an awesome action book.

"I have not yet begun to fight." - John Paul Jones

"America will win through absolute victory" - President Franklin Roosevelt

"This was our finest hour." - Winston Churchill
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  Quote Seko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 19:21

I second the notion that the book is a fine thriller. I ate up every page with enthusiasm.

It also rocks the establishment and turns it all about. I like that too.



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  Quote vagabond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 22:21

[quote]interesting individuals such as yourselves[quote]  I'm all ablush with such expressions of kindness.  Flattery will get you anything...  Just give me a moment to regain my composure... now...regarding Brown and his book.   Warning - no spoilers ahead, but I'm a grumpy old guy who doesn't much like either of Brown's novels.

It is as you say, fiction.  An Ok potboiler if you don't mind a predictable, transparent plot with characters introduced in the last chapters to clean up otherwise loose plot ends.  I felt that the lead lines about historical fact were misleading as very few of his facts, historical or otherwise, were correct.  The same is true of his use of art history.  Theologically, the book is in no way challenging as it offers nothing but nonsense dredged from the "Holy Blood... " crowd.  If people want to read fiction and believe that it is fact, they could make better choices, something like "Alice in Wonderland" perhaps.

As the comparison to Eco has already been made, I'll reiterate part of a conversation I had elsewhere on the net:

Umberto Eco is a master in comparison to Dan Brown - they are not even in the same universe. I have read two of his - "The Da Vinci Code" and it's prequal "The Da Vinci told all over again with no changes at all I love being able to foist off another book on the public without actually having to write a new story I wonder if anyone will notice Code ." Eco delves deeply into his wellspring of historical knowledge and that reflects in all his work. Eco's prose is eminently readable. Brown barely scratches the surface of pseudo-history and popular myth, aims to the lowest common denominator, and dumbs everything down from there. His history was bad; based on poor research and erroneous conclusions, his plot predictable, his characters one dimensional, his resolution (with characters that were introduced only at the end of the book) trite and his prose is outright bad... Have I missed anything?

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  Quote Kentuckian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2005 at 22:52
Got a lot of money for it, "Give the people what they want".  It's still isn't paperback after 2 years and is still on the top 10 sellers list. 
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2005 at 01:00
From my experiences with those who have read the book, it makes the average person who does not read often feel that he is well-read in controversial matters that only scholars talk about. However, I find this very funny as the book really is fiction and these are things only fringe scholars speak of. It gets annoying after a while though, especially when they yell at you after you try to set them straight.
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  Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2005 at 09:53
I have not read the book. I am waiting for the movie

But the book has increased the interest in many people into the history of Christianity, Italian art, and Italian history. Where I live, there are frequent sermons on the book given by ministers, independent study groups, and even our local community college has a class dedicated to the book to sort out fiction and reality.

I think that the book has had a positive impact on the U.S.
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  Quote Menippos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2005 at 18:35
Originally posted by Dawn

Foucault's Pendulum hard to read,  Dr. Zhivago  in russian would be easier


If you want a real challenge, try reading it in Estonian.
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  Quote Menippos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2005 at 18:54
I read the book, I liked it. But then, I am just another guy who's looking to kill some time while in the toilet...
Personally, I would go tor a Tom Robbins, but how many good ones could he have written anyway?
But ancinet (and modern) classic writers have provided us with lots of stuff to read, so no need worry...
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  Quote Illuminati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2005 at 22:00
Ohh, this was a great book. It was a really good work of fiction, but was able to get in many important and interesing aspects of history.

I look forward to being able to read Angels and Demons.
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  Quote Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jun-2005 at 10:56
Moved to Lit forum
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