The Gospel Code

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Dan Brown's international bestseller The Da Vinci Code has raised many questions in the minds of readers.
Was Jesus really married to Mary Magdalene?Did he father a child with her? Did Constantine suppress the earliest Gospels and invent the doctrine of Christ's divinity? Do the Gnostic Gospels represent the true Christian faith which the early church sought to supplant?The Da Vinci Code, in blurring the lines between fact and fiction, popularizes the speculations and ...
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Dan Brown's international bestseller The Da Vinci Code has raised many questions in the minds of readers.
Was Jesus really married to Mary Magdalene?Did he father a child with her? Did Constantine suppress the earliest Gospels and invent the doctrine of Christ's divinity? Do the Gnostic Gospels represent the true Christian faith which the early church sought to supplant?The Da Vinci Code, in blurring the lines between fact and fiction, popularizes the speculations and contentions of numerous more serious books that are also attracting wide attention. How should we respond to claims that we now have documents that reveal secrets about Jesus, secrets long suppressed by the church and other religious institutions? Do these new documents successfully debunk traditional views about Jesus and early Christianity?

Ben Witherington III confronts these claims with the sure-footedness of a New Testament scholar, yet in the plain language that any interested reader can follow. He takes us back to the early centuries after Jesus' death and tells us what we can really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the canonical Gospels and their Gnostic rivals.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The controversy over the facts behind the fiction of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code continues. New Testament professor Ben Witherington enters the fray with a critical examination of non-traditional readings of early Christian history. In The Gospel Code, he refutes claims that Jesus married to Mary Magdalene and responds to assertions that the Gnostic Gospels represent the true Christian faith. A withering attack on ancient heresies.
Lee Strobel
"Here's a much-needed antidote to the history-twisting misinformation that, unfortunately, has seeped into popular culture in recent years. Thanks, Ben, for setting the record straight!"
David Neff
"Ben Witherington won't stop at refuting the historical errors of
The Da Vinci Code. He will not rest until he refutes the novel's spiritual error as well. Witherington names the narcissism at the heart of the Gnostic revival and offers the New Testament's God-centered good news in its place."
Gary R. Habermas
"Unlike so many critiques that carefully mince words, Ben Witherington explains exactly why currently popular attempts to treat the historical Jesus in a revisionist manner are so wide of the mark. Beginning with a bang by noting 'seven deadly errors' right on through the conclusion, Witherington pulls no punches while showcasing his wonderful sense of humor. Here the reader is treated to an excellent evaluation, making points that many of us wish were made far more frequently. This book is simply a delightful read."
William Lane Craig
"In these few pages, an eminent New Testament scholar not only explodes the follies of The Da Vinci Code but also dissects the claims of certain scholars to find in the Gnostic Gospels a historically authentic Jesus and an alternative Christianity. Timely and compelling!"
Publishers Weekly
The popularity of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code has caused Christian apologists to address what they consider to be its heresies and historical errors. Witherington, a New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary, intends in this volume to add his voice to the growing criticism of Brown's novel. Each chapter treats an issue-the formation of the canon, the "married Jesus" theory, etc.-and then offers a wealth of background material to support an evangelical Christian viewpoint. Drawing on his background in Christian theology and church history, Witherington explains his position in a lucid and sometimes whimsical style. He is particularly strong when exploring and explaining the processes of textual criticism and redaction, and in helping readers understand the flow of Christian history and the development of doctrine. The influence of Gnosticism, ancient and modern, likewise receives extensive treatment. The book closes with an appeal for a more rational, and less speculative, consideration of the Jesus story. Quite apart from its treatment of Brown's novel, this book is a fine exposition of mainstream evangelical teaching and merits wide readership. (July) Forecast: Witherington's book is a late starter-Cook, Thomas Nelson, Ignatius and other publishers have already offered Da Vinci responses. Still, this more extensive, reasoned treatment may have the staying power that other instant books lack. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830832675
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 6/2/2004
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 1,045,079
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Bible scholar Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the MDiv degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.

Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, he has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.

Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications, and is a frequent contributor to the Patheos website.

Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline on outlets like the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.

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Table of Contents

PrefacePart 1: Veni, Vidi, Da Vinci
1. A Novel Idea?
2. No Weddings and a Funeral
3. Tell Me the Old, Old Story
4. His Story, History and the Canon's StoryPart 2: Mary Magdalene and the New Gnosticism
5. Something About Mary
6. Those in the Know
7. Doubting ThomasPart 3: Did the Canon Misfire?
8. Consulting the Canon Professors
9. Reading Borg Again for the First Time
10. What If God Was One of Us?
Postscript--Truth Decay in the Twenty-first Century
A Select Bibliography
Subject Index
Scripture Index
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2004

    A time worthy book...

    Seldom has a book had as much impact on society, particularly a fiction one, as the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. In the year and a half since it burst onto the bestseller lists, people who never thought much about Jesus have begun talking about Him and some who have thought about Him have changed their views. Those who remain faithful are often challenged at the water cooler to explain where in the Bible the Mrs. Jesus section is, or some such thing, and need something more than being able to say that is untrue because it's what they believe. To fill this gap, a host of books debunking the 'Magdalene Files' have emerged, but this one stands ahead of the others. ................................ **** While most are thin volumes that address superficial difficulties, The Gospel Code digs in deeper, exploring the root of the problem that has more branches than just Da Vinci. After reading this, you will know about the gnostic heresies, the alleged 'lost books of the Bible,' and have a good grounding in early church history. For that alone, even if you never read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, or DaVinci Code, etc., this is a time worthy book. ****

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