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Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking

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Overview

Many who have read the New York Times bestseller The Da Vinci Code have questions that arise from seven codes-expressed or implied-in Dan Brown's book. In Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, Darrell Bock, Ph.D., responds to the novelist's claims using central ancient texts and answers the following ...

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Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking

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Overview

Many who have read the New York Times bestseller The Da Vinci Code have questions that arise from seven codes-expressed or implied-in Dan Brown's book. In Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, Darrell Bock, Ph.D., responds to the novelist's claims using central ancient texts and answers the following questions:

  • Who was Mary Magdalene?
  • Was Jesus Married?
  • Would Jesus Being Single be Un-Jewish?
  • Do the So-Called Secret Gnostic Gospels Help Us Understand Jesus?
  • What Is the Remaining Relevance of The Da Vinci Code?

Darrell Bock's research uncovers the origins of these codes by focusing on the 325 years immediately following the birth of Christ, for the claims of The Da Vinci Code rise or fall on the basis of things emerging from this period. Breaking the Da Vinci Code, now available in trade paper, distinguishes fictitious entertainment from historical elements of the Christian faith. For by seeing these differences, one can break the Da Vinci code.

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Editorial Reviews

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Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code leaves no thrill unleashed, but it does leave unanswered many questions about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the New Testament. Dr. Darrell Bock's Breaking The Da Vinci Code is designed for Christian believers who want to resolve thorny issues raised by Brown's fast-moving historical thriller. In this clearly written book, he addresses questions such as: Do the so-called secret Gnostic Gospels help us understand Jesus? Was Jesus married? How is The Da Vinci Code relevant to my faith?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785280149
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/18/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Darrell L. Bock, PhD, is Research Professor of New Testament Studies at
Dallas Theological Seminary. He also serves as Professor for Spiritual
Development and Culture. As well as being a corresponding editor for
Christianity Today and past President of the Evangelical Theological
Society, Bock serves as an elder at Trinity Fellowship Church in
Richardson, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Sally, and their three children.
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Read an Excerpt

BREAKING THE DA VINCI CODE

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS EVERYONE'S ASKING
By DARRELL L. BOCK

Nelson Books

Copyright © 2007 Darrell L. Bock
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-8014-9


Chapter One

Code 1

WHO WAS MARY MAGDALENE?

We start with the key woman in our study, Mary of Magdala. In The Da Vinci Code, she is the wife of Jesus and the mother of His children, and that is a secret the church wanted to cover up to protect the divinity of Jesus. In the novel, she also is directly associated with the Holy Grail. The association with the Grail comes through the idea of Holy Blood and its bloodline (p. 250), the Sangreal. A word play on the term Sang Real gets us to a connection to the Holy Grail. The hypothesis is that the story of the Holy Grail really points to the holy bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene coming into France. This idea is expressed explicitly in Holy Blood, Holy Grail as a hypothesis (pp. 313-15). In fact, the direct connection of Mary to the Holy Grail is a late, fresh twentieth-century addition to the legend of the Holy Grail. In addition, the word play it is based upon comes from the medieval period and is not a part of the original meaning of the term.

In The Da Vinci Code, Mary is said to be in Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper. The evidence is the V shape to the left side of Jesus as one looks at the painting (p. 244). It is the symbol of the feminine, and a feminine-looking figure on the left side of the V is Mary of Magdala (p. 238 of the novel discusses this V; see the painting on our cover). Leonardo knew of the genealogical secret and put a clue of it in this painting. It is from this detail that the novel gets its title, The Da Vinci Code. All of these ideas surface in the middle portion of the book (pp. 242-45). So Mary is a logical person with whom to begin our study. Who was she? What was her relationship to Jesus?

Mary Magdalene has always possessed a certain mystique. In the 1960s she was often a key figure in musicals about Jesus. Interest in her has not waned and reflects a curiosity that has belonged to her almost from the beginning. Part of the reason for such interest is that there are actually so little data about her. One element of a story like Mary's is that when there is very little information, there is a desire to round out the picture. Proving or disproving what is speculated about her is hard to do. We will proceed one step at a time. We consider now only Mary Magdalene's familial relationship to Jesus, the key element in the novel's claims. In a later chapter we will return to Mary and explore the symbol that Mary has become for our culture.

Mary in the New Testament

Mary is one of seven people with this name in the New Testament, and most of them are distinguished by additional descriptions: (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:30-31); (2) Mary of Bethany (John 11:1); (3) Mary, the mother of James who was not the Lord's brother (Matt. 27:56); (4) Mary, the wife of Clopas (John 19:25); (5) Mary, the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12); (6) one otherwise unidentified Mary (Rom. 16:6); and (7) Mary Magdalene, distinguished by a reference to her home, Magdala (Luke 8:2). These descriptions help us to sort out the individuals on the list. There is no hesitation to mention one's familial status as a way of doing this. Often a connection to a male is the distinguishing feature, as with Jesus' mother, the mother of James, John Mark's mother, and especially the wife of Clopas. Such a connection reflected the patriarchal first-century culture; that is, it was culturally centered on the male. This frequent naming of females with a male connection will be a significant point when we consider whether Jesus was married.

The name Mary is actually a modern form of the Jewish name Miriam. It was an extremely popular ancient name for women, which may add to the confusion among individuals. Mary Magdalene was not connected to any male, though she could have been if there had been such a connection to highlight. Rather, Magdala, where she lived, identified her. So Mary Magdalene was Mary from Magdala. Magdala is probably modern-day Migdal, located near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Jesus' main ministry took place in the Sea of Galilee area.

Mary Magdalene in the New Testament

The biblical passages that discuss Mary from Magdala come in four groups.

First, she was a disciple who was the beneficiary of an exorcism by Jesus and was part of an entourage of women who supported and traveled with Jesus and His disciples (Luke 8:1-3). Having several women travelers was not as unusual as having Mary Magdalene travel with the group of disciples on her own would have been.

Second, she was present at the cross, a witness who no doubt was sad about Jesus' fate (Matt. 27:55-56 with the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee; Mark 15:40-41; John 19:25). In each note about her presence at the cross she was not alone, but was part of a larger group of women. Matthew described the women as those who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him. Mark identified the women as people who followed Jesus in Galilee and ministered to Him. John's description was similar. Mary was not singled out, but was part of a group of women, and many of the women at the cross were connected to known males. Had there been such a connection between Mary and Jesus, there was plenty of opportunity to make the point about Mary Magdalene in these earliest texts.

Third, some texts placed her at the cross either as or after Jesus was laid to rest (Matt. 27:61 with the "other" Mary; Mark 15:40 with Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, along with many other women). In other words, the named women were prominent among the women noted. Once again, Mary was not singled out on her own.

Fourth, all of the remaining biblical texts about Mary Magdalene depict her as a witness to Jesus' resurrection. According to Matthew 28:1, she returned with the "other" Mary to anoint the body, which they still expected to be there on the third day after the Crucifixion. Mark 16:1 is similar to the list involving Mary, the mother of James, and Salome. In English translations that refer to Mark 16:9, she is mentioned as one to whom Jesus appeared and as a beneficiary of an exorcism, combining what the Resurrection accounts and Luke 8 tell us elsewhere. (There is scholarly discussion about whether Mark 16:9-20 was an original part of Mark, but that issue need not detain us; nothing here is added to what the undisputed texts tell us.) Luke 24:10 names Mary as a member of the entourage-Joanna (noted in Luke 8:2-3) and the mother of James and an unspecified number of "other" women-that announced Jesus' resurrection to the apostles and others. No one believed their report at the time. The biblical accounts are amazingly honest in admitting that the disciples did not anticipate Jesus' resurrection.

By far the most dramatic account is Jesus' appearance to Mary in John 20:11-18; this is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus and Mary Magdalene were alone together. She was clinging to Him so that Jesus told her to let go. Such behavior was unusual in the Jewish culture and would be frowned upon in normal circumstances because public displays of affection between nonrelated persons generally were not culturally affirmed, except in the case of a greeting like a holy kiss (Rom. 16:16). The emotion of the moment caused Mary to grab Jesus out of surprise and joy. There was nothing sexual about what happened, as some have suggested. She simply reacted spontaneously, welcoming His surprising, new existence with an embrace. The reaction is understandable when one appreciates that she thought Jesus was dead and gone and that she had already said her last good-byes to the teacher who had turned her life around.

She left the scene, a witness to Jesus' resurrection (John 20:18). She carried out the announcement of resurrection that the risen Jesus told her to proclaim. She was an apostle, not in the technical sense of the Twelve whom Jesus appointed to lead the disciples but in its more common usage as a "sent, commissioned messenger." We shall return to this apostolic role in a later chapter. It is the most important point about Mary that the Gospels tell us.

This is the entire inventory of New Testament references about Mary Magdalene: eleven passages total (twelve counting Mark 16:9). She was a disciple and traveling supporter of Jesus among a group of other women. She was never related to Him in any other sense. Although other women in the group were connected to males as relatives, Mary was not. She was a witness to the Cross, the burial, and the Resurrection. That was it.

Mary Magdalene in Key Texts Outside the Bible

The Church Fathers

Early church references to Mary Magdalene, except in Gnostic and related materials, which we shall consider separately later, fall into this same pattern. She was a faithful disciple, a follower of Jesus who witnessed Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.

There is an interesting text by Hippolytus, a third-century church father. (A church father refers to a major church leader during the earliest centuries of the church.) The case begins by noting that there is a reference among early Christians to Mary as an "apostle to the apostles" (Ann Graham Brock, Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle, p. 1). Some also claim the term refers to the acceptance of Mary's high rank in the church (Brock, p. 161, n. 2), but a closer look at this text shows it does not make a point of rank, nor does the title in the singular appear here. In fact, the singular expression appears to surface in an unclear way in the later Middle Ages around the tenth century. The point about rank is a deduction from the fact that Mary was among the first to see Jesus. The comment by Hippolytus appears in his commentary on the Old Testament book of the Song of Songs 24-26 (also known as the Song of Solomon). It reads, "Lest the female apostles doubt the angels, Christ himself came to them so that the women would be apostles of Christ and by their obedience rectify the sin of ancient Eve ... Christ showed himself to the (male) apostles and said to them: ... 'It is I who appeared to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as apostles.'"

This alludes to the commissioned witness role of all the women who experienced the empty tomb, although the Hippolytus passage has Mary and Martha especially in mind. This text, appearing in a passage expounding Song of Solomon, gives us another detail. The women who witnessed the risen Jesus are associated with the idea that the church as a whole is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33). (The Song of Solomon was often read in the early church as being about the spiritual wedding of Jesus Christ to His church.) These women represent the church as a whole, but they do so as a group in the remarks of Hippolytus. So Hippolytus told us only that women like Mary Magdalene functioned as approved witnesses of Jesus' resurrection. We shall return in Code 6 to this text.

In the other materials from the Fathers, there is nothing particularly outstanding about Mary. Such texts describe her in terms that parallel what the biblical Gospels tell us.

A Key Gnostic Text on Jesus and Mary Kissing

Another class of texts comes from Gnostic Christian sources that emphasize the direct teaching of mysteries. We will discuss the Gnostics in more detail in Codes 4 and 5, but a famous passage involves a text that has Jesus kissing Mary (Gospel of Philip 63:32-64:10). This text was composed in the second half of the third century, a full two hundred years after the time of Jesus. This text describes Mary as a "companion" of Jesus. Of all the passages that could suggest Jesus was married, this is the best potential case.

However, the key part of the text is broken at 63:33-36 and reads, "And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [... loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [...]." The brackets indicate broken locations in the manuscript where there is no reading because the manuscript is damaged. Talk about a mystery to solve!

Working with broken ancient texts takes skill. Sometimes there is genuine debate about what the full original text said. In some cases where words are supplied in the brackets, we can logically suggest the reading because of the context and the size of the break. Specialists surmise what specific word goes in the blank by the number of letters missing and then translate the result. For example in the sentence, "My wife sent me to the stor[...] get some eggs," one could reasonably suggest the full sentence was, "My wife sent me to the store to get some eggs." In cases where good multiple options exist, one cannot be sure what the complete text said.

In this text involving Mary, some contend that it could affirm that she was kissed on her cheek or forehead since either term fits in the break. Others prefer the reading of a kiss on the mouth because of a parallel in the Gospel of Philip 58:34-59:4, which reads, "For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we all kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another." This reading of Philip 63:33-36 is discussed in Harvard Professor Karen King's The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, where she prefers the option of a kiss on the mouth because of the parallel to Philip 58-59 (p. 204, n. 50). Her discussion also develops that although there is an explicit reference to a kiss on the mouth in Philip 63, the reference from Philip 58-59 is to the kiss of fellowship between believers, where nothing sexual is intended. It refers to "the intimate reception of spiritual teaching" (p. 146). We would note that the locale of the kiss ultimately referred to in Philip 58-59 is not clear.

King does not put the two observations about these two passages together, but I will. If the kiss of Philip 63 is similar to the kiss of Philip 58-59, then the reference likely is to a kiss of fellowship. If so, the kiss may be one for the cheek and not the mouth. King does suggest (correctly in my view) that the imagery is about Mary being associated with Wisdom and that this spiritual connection stands behind the reference (p. 145). She probably does this because these kinds of texts often carry a symbolic or spiritual sense over a more literal one, as scholars often note. Even if the reference is to a kiss on the mouth, the basis for the text pointing to something primarily sexual does not exist. The reference merely pictures a tender, spiritual relationship.

The other key term in Philip 63:34 is a Greek loan word found in this Coptic language text. (A loan word is simply a word borrowed from another language.) So the key term here is a Greek term. It transliterates as koinonos and is translated "companion." The term can mean "wife" or simply "sister" in a spiritual sense. But this term is not the typical or common term for "wife," which in Greek would be some form of gyne.

King asks a series of questions about this Philip 63 text: "Is Mary Magdalene identified with Wisdom here? Is that why the Savior loved her more than the other disciples? Does kissing mean that Mary and the Savior had a sexual relationship or was it a spiritual one?" (p. 145). King suggests that Mary is seen as Wisdom in the text, making her mother of the angels, spiritual sister to the Savior, and His female counterpart. Nothing about this points to a real marriage.

The passage is full of spiritual imagery to let us know this is what the passage is saying. The reference in the passage is more likely to a spiritual relationship, given the variety of relationships that Mary has in this gospel. When one considers how frequently these kinds of texts use spiritual imagery by comparing the birth of wisdom to natural birth, the image of male-female counterparts is a part of the metaphor rather than a historical point.

So uncertainty applies to the text from Philip 63. We do not know the exact relationship or to whom Mary Magdalene was being related at the start of this passage, although it is likely she is said to be Jesus' companion. We also do not know where she was kissed, although it might have been on the mouth. If a kiss on the mouth is described, something unusual is indicated. The kiss does point to a level of intimacy between Jesus and Mary, but it probably represents a spiritual closeness as spiritual counterparts in the birth of creation that is associated with wisdom. It is far less likely that something sexual is in view or that their marital status is being addressed.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from BREAKING THE DA VINCI CODE by DARRELL L. BOCK Copyright © 2007 by Darrell L. Bock. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword....................xi
Introduction....................1
Code 1: Who Was Mary Magdalene?....................13
Code 2: Was Jesus Married?....................31
Code 3: Would Being Single Make Jesus Un-Jewish?....................47
Code 4: Do the So-Called Secret, Gnostic Gospels Help Us Understand Jesus?....................61
Code 5: How Were the New Testament Gospels Assembled?....................99
Code 6: Does Mary's Honored Role As Apostle Match the Claims of the New School?....................125
Code 7: What Is the Remaining Relevance of The Da Vinci Code?....................151
Code 8: The Real Jesus Code....................159
Appendix: Leonardo's Last Supper....................168
Selected Bibliography....................171
Glossary....................175
About the Author....................189
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2006

    Good read, more theology than answers

    This book was writtin for those who read the DaVince Code and did not have a strong enough grasp on their own beliefs to separate truth from fiction for themselves. To assume everyone is so steadfast in their faiths is to speak arrogantly. The book doesn't answer the small nit-picking questions in the novel, but more importantly, it addresses the major claim that contradicts all of Christianity as it exists today. Mostly theological in nature, the book simply aims to re-affirm those that had their ground shaken by the DaVinci code and want a place to look for the re-affirmation they want/need to hear. The book is not for everyone, but all in all, it is still a good theological discussion of a matter that is very prominent in mainstrem society right now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    Must read for Jesus fans.

    If you don't do anything else, read the last chapter. The book itself sheds a bright light on the early christians and reinforces the validity of the Bible as we know it today without ignoring the questions. Sure wish I'd read this years ago. You don't have to read the 'Da Vinci Code' to appreciate this book. It may encourage you to STUDY the bible in a new light.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2004

    The worst book I have ever heard!

    If Darrel L. Block, PH. D. ever boasted that this book would be greater or almost as good as 'The Da Vinci Code', he was wrong. Poorly delivered. The excerpt on the cover certainly didn't give me reason to believe that this was in college thesis format. In short 'IT SUCKED'. Truly a waste of twenty plus dollars. Clearly the worst book I have ever heard. To the credit of the author and his purpose, grabbing a excellent opportunity and making a good sum if money, is what we all want to do. However he did it riding on the title of a New York's best seller book. I hope in the future his books will list their true purpose in a much clearer manner on the jacket. 'Kudos' to the publicist who so creativley manage to sell this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2004

    Buyer Beware

    A bad attempt at defending orthadox christianiy, this book doesn't even mention Da Vinci or his beleifs. It also leaves out the answers to the questions 'everyone's' asking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    A Great way to find the truth

    This book shows the true way to read the Da Vinci code by Dan brown. In the beginning of the book when Dan brown makes the claim that all historical documents in his book are written about correctly it is totally false and this book shows you how to weed out the fact from fiction. It totally makes the Da Vinci code more interesting because you can make sure that you know that what you are reading is either true or false.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2004

    Obvious agenda

    Any time a book gets written to debunk another book, one must be on guard. When the subject is religion and the author holds a doctorate in theological studies, one already knows what his agenda is. He will defend the party line, of course, and use all the cliches, like using 'Christ' (annointed one) as a synonym or even as a sirname for Jesus. The author's interchancing of Christ, Lord and Savior shows his bias. He spends a lot of words trying to disprove the DaVunci code, but in the main, his arguments are, for the most part, ipse dixit, with little reference material outside of cannonical text. Having thoroughly read 'Bloodline of the Holy Grail', 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' the Mary Magdaline Gospel, 'The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls', 'The Way of the Essenes', 'The teachings of the Essenes From Enoch to the Dead Sea Scrolls', 'The Hiram Key', 'The Second Messiah' and more, I can say with some conviction that Professor Maloney's book does little to debunk the DaVinci Code and is largely a sermon reflecting his conservative religious opinion and little more. Read it if you want another opinion, but remember that he is strongly biased.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2004

    A poor hurried attempt to stop the bleeding of the faithful

    The arguments the Author presents are so air-tight that he feels compelled to repeatedly tell the reader that the code is broken. Its intended audience is obviously the Sunday head-nodder with little interest of any serious discussion. The book gives you the feeling that the author felt a real need to hurrieldy puplish this work as if to address a serious threat to the faithful. Just imagine what may happen if Christians start reading the history of their own church for a change. Although the Author selectively references ancient documents, he mainly uses the N.T. to prove his arguments. It is as if you are listening to a Republican quoting Bush to prove a Republican point. My favorite was quoting Acts 1:15-26, listing the qualifications of an Apostle (male, be with Jesus, & a witness to the ressurection) to prove the Biblical limitaions of the role of women. The very same text can be used to prove that the men who gave us this text meant to limit the role of women for no other reason than being a woman. Twelve men casting lots to pick a replacement for a man that betrayed Jesus, stipulating that the replacement has to be a man. The very same point that the Da Vinci code tried to make.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2004

    Poor arguements...Bock needs to give me a 'Break!'

    First, the 'book' is little more than a lengthy article in 13 point font in order to stretch out over 170 pages. Seems Bock, like the ¿bad guys¿ of the novel certainly knows how to exploit others. Rather than discussing any of the more interesting discussions within the 'Da Vinci Code' novel, Bock parrots a shop-worn defense of orthodox Christianity which claims to address the theories of the Jesus Seminar, upon which much of Brown's novel is loosely based, but ends up making circular arguments which any first year student of religion or rhetoric can easily see through. Bock's scholarship could only impress those whom agree with the books conclusions, or folks who consider Rush Limbaugh witty. Bock's dates of scriptural authorship do not reflect accepted scholarly material, his inclusion of the Gospel of John as a historically accurate document is laughable, and, most humorously, his reliance upon apostolic tradition for the canonical value of the orthodox Bible seems to overlook the fact that Paul was not an apostle, or any discussion of the differing 'orthodox' versions of the Christian Bible. A waste of time and money. Bock's call to faith at the end of the work is symptomatic of the lack of reason devoted to this cheap attempt to exploit the success of Brown's novel while providing nothing but a parroted orthodoxy response to Brown's most outrageous claims and ignoring anything thought provoking discussed in the novel. A lawyer considering a return to school for a Phd in Christian Studies, I now know that if Bock's scholarship is reflective of his home at Dallas Theological Seminar, that's one school I'll be avoiding. Shoddy work by any academic standard more onerous than an evangelical home-school. However, Bock's work would make a great straw-man argument for beginning history students to debunk during their first year studies. Oh, I nearly forgot: Is that Mary depicted in the Last Summer? Who knows, Bock is to concerned defending the orthodox Jesus, he NEVER mentions Da Vinci or his beliefs!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2004

    Don't need a sermon

    This book emphasizes exactly what the Da Vinci Code is alluding to, that the Christian Theologists and writers chose to believe everything as written in the Bible, not considering the changes that may have occured by the 'human hands' that wanted history to be written as they preceived it. Who knows if the Di Vinci Code is correct, but I sure do not believe half of what the Bible says, at some point in time you have to use common sense. This book gives me nothing to think about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2004

    Still looking for answers

    I thought this was the book I was looking for because it promised to answer the same questions I was asking. I empathized with the people mentioned in the book's introduction regarding the questions Christian followers had about the ideas presented in Dan Brown's book and I also wanted answers from a church leader. What I expected to gain from this book was intelligent well organized answers. What I didn't expect to read was a sermon with circular Bible references. If I wanted a sermon I would go to church. If I wanted opinions I would have asked for them. This book didn't even explain Da Vinci as promised and it didn't provide explanations for the symbology in Da Vinci's art work. I don't have a higher degree in theology and I have no art education however I can think for myself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2004

    Easy understanding for Breaking the Code!!

    Dr. Bock did a wonderful job of 'de-coding' the novel the 'Da Vanci Code'. As a Christian, I was very distressed at having fiction presented as fact in the said novel. I am not a scholar but Dr. Bock's book definitely answered all the questions that I thought a non-believer may have or that a new Christian may have problems with. I found it to be easily understood and biblically sound.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2004

    EXCELLENT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Read it for yourself ...it exposes a lot of fiction in the davinci code that is being passed of as fact without being proven. If you are not a believer it will probably not make you one anymore than the davinci code made me a non-believer!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2004

    A solid piece of work, easily comprehensible

    This book does a solid job of covering the early history of the church and the issues the Da Vinci Code raises. Dr. Bock is obviously well-versed in the scholarship surrounding this subject and is very well-respected within his field. I've seen him interviewed on ABC and NBC, so they must think he knows what he is talking about. The Wall Street Journal calls this book the best of the lot. Bock is not exploiting the popularity of the novel. He wants to make sure the general public understands the problems with Dan Brown's book because it makes fiction appear as fact. He writes in a way so that someone with no theological background whatsoever can follow his book. I'm glad someone took the time and effort to go through the biblical arguments within the book and set them straight. Rhetoric has been used since ancient Greece to try to logically prove a point, and Dan Brown manipulates his use of language and characterization to present something as fact that is not. Unlike Dan Brown, Bock admits that his arguments are not fact, but based on the biblical scholarship and history of the time makes the best judgment that he can. More importantly, he allows the reader to see the ancient evidence, so the reader can decide. Bock outlines his arguments clearly and logically to create a better picture of the issues raised in Dan Brown's book. This is a great book to read to understand the problems with Dan Brown's portrayal!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2004

    A confusing sermon...Dr Brock needs to take a Break

    This book did not answer all of the questions as promised and was misleading and dissapointing. The arguements presented in this book were poorly organized and hard to follow. The tone presented wording that anyone having an opinion other than generically accepted Christian beliefs were against Christianity. The reader gets a sense of receiving a sermon instead of enjoying reading another viewpoint to theories and ideas presented in Dan Brown's book. I felt cheated after reading Dr. Brock's book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2004

    A Logical Engagement of the Novel

    Bock has tackled the most basic plot elements of the novel, rather than taking on everything. He stated his purpose clearly at the start and engaged in topics that reflect his expertise. If Jesus was not married, then the entire plot collapses and the rationale for everything else called fact in the novel falls. This is the focus of the book. Bock allows the ancient texts to speak for themselves and respects the reader by letting the reader see the evidence. He cites both 'orthodox' and 'secret' sources, which is even-handed and is what makes the book so helpful. He also indicates that had Jesus been married, the church would not have needed to cover it up (as the novel claims) as all this proves is Jesus' humanity. Contrary to the novel's claims, this would not have impacted what the church says about Jesus' divinity. Other issues related to Christianity are given special attention. The glossary DOES cover other items in brief. In sum, this book engages the novel at a logical and historical level, rather than tackling everything. It also discusses the source of Brown's ideas, extending the discussion beyond the novel itself. In this way, the book is more comprehensive than other treatments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2004

    No Leonardo!

    Buyer beware - this book doesn't address questions about Leonardo Da Vinci, or some of the other intriguing questions that 'everyone' is asking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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