The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?

The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?

by Hank Hanegraaff, Paul Maier

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The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? by Hank Hanegraaff, Paul Maier

People are talking. The DaVinci Code has been on the New York Times best-seller list for almost a year and is raising a variety of responses from Christians and non-Christians alike. Some are outraged and upset by the claims of Dan Brown, while others are left utterly confused and don’t know what to believe. The DaVinci Code: Fact or Fiction? explodes the myths of the book and shows the reliability of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, as well as the historical facts for the Priory of Zion and the Knights Templar. This is the only hands-on accessible reference guide. The DaVinci Code: Fact or Fiction? helps you turn debate about the book into an evangelistic opportunity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414310350
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 02/28/2006
Edition description: 6 Pack
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.70(d)

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The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?


FOREWORD HANK HANEGRAAFF..........................................vii PART ONE THE DA VINCI DECEPTION PAUL L. MAIER.....................1 PART TWO BUT WHAT IS TRUTH? HANK HANEGRAAFF.......................41 AFTERWORD PAUL L. MAIER...........................................67 NOTES..............................................................71 FOR FURTHER READING................................................80

Chapter One

A vast double standard overhangs Western society today that is totally deplorable-namely, you dare not attack any of the religious systems of the world ... except for Christianity. To criticize the polytheism and caste system in Hinduism or fault Gautama Buddha for leaving his wife and son to meditate in the forest provokes immediate charges of intolerance and bigotry. To question aspects of the prophet Muhammad's life is not politically correct in a pluralist society-and can even be dangerous. To identify any Jewish role whatever in the Good Friday trial of Jesus raises instant charges of anti-Semitism. But skewer Christianity? Caricature Christ and present falsehoods about the church he founded? No problem! Join the crowd! It's the "in"thing-politically very correct and high fashion to boot!


The past four decades in particular have seen an outpouring of sensationalist books, motion pictures, and television specials in which Jesus and the true origins of Christianity are barely recognizable. We might call this phenomenon "The Jesus Game," and here is how it is played: Begin with a general sketch of Jesus on the basis of the Gospels, but then distort it as much as you please. Add clashing colors, paint in a bizarre background, and add episodes to the life of Christ that could not possibly have happened. If the end result still faintly resembles the Jesus of the New Testament, you lose. But if you come up with a radically different-and above all, sensational-portrait of Jesus, you win. The prize is maximum coverage in the nation's print and broadcast media. Any frowns from the faithful will be ignored amid the skyrocketing sales of your product.

The Jesus Game has been played ever since the pagan philosopher Celsus first helped set up the rules in the second century AD, but it has never been played with such enthusiasm as at the present moment.

Consider some of the recent players:

England's Hugh Schonfield unveiled a portrait of Jesus in 1966 that might well be styled "The Passover Plotter"-a false "Savior" who schemed the whole Golgotha scenario.

Nikos Kazantzakis's book The Last Temptation of Christ, later made into a movie, cast Jesus as an object of St. Paul's scorn.

Also in the tumultuous '60s, we might even have expected to see "Jesus the Radical Revolutionary," courtesy of the S. G. F. Brandon books.

Of course, there were mercurial (read "bewildered") authors like John M. Allegro, another British scholar who once worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls but ruined his reputation by favoring us with the image of "Jesus the Mushroom Cultist" in 1970. In his The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, Allegro seriously argued that Jesus was invented by myth-makers who got high on the hallucinogenic qualities of the red-topped, white-flecked fly agaric mushroom and wrote the Gospels to communicate their cultic secrets!

Not to be outdone, Morton Smith presented "Christ the Master Magician" in his 1973 book The Secret Gospel, explaining away Jesus' miracles as sleight-of-hand.

In claims similar to those in the Qur'an, Australian Donovan Joyce's The Jesus Scroll unveiled "Jesus the Senescent Savior" who survived Golgotha and lived on to the ripe old age of eighty.

"Jesus the Happy Husband" staged his debut in several books, the most influential of which was Baigent, Lincoln, and Leigh's Holy Blood, Holy Grail in the 1980s. These authors spun the impossible saga that is the heart of the storyline of The Da Vinci Code-that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that their offspring persisted in the Merovingian dynasty of medieval France.

After Jesus as "The Clownish Christ" in Godspell and "The Rock Redeemer" in Jesus Christ Superstar (both forgivable) came the '90s and the irrepressible John Dominic Crossan, oracle of the Jesus Seminar, who gifted us with "Jesus the Rustic Redeemer" (or, perhaps, "Seinfeld-the Savior," depending on which chapter you follow in his The Historical Jesus-The Life of a Jewish Mediterranean Peasant).

The television and film media have been quick to follow suit. Whenever one of the networks attempts a serious documentary on Jesus, it usually tips scholarly representation heavily in the direction of radical, revisionist critics rather than serious, centrist biblical scholars, as witness Peter Jennings's ABC special "In Search of Jesus," which aired in June, 2002, or Dateline NBC in February, 2004. Bank on it: John Dominic Crossan and his colorful Irish brogue will always have a prominent role on such programs because producers love his sensationalist attacks on traditional Christianity.

And now, crowning this retinue of revisionism, comes The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. What sets this latest, horrendously skewed portrait of Jesus apart is not its originality-its central premise, in fact, is just a copy of Holy Blood, Holy Grail-but its sales. With more than 6 million copies sold as of this writing, Da Vinci enjoys a greater readership than all of the previous books combined, which only compounds the damage done to the cause of truth, as we shall see.

And the damage will continue. The book is being translated into 40 languages and will be made into a film by Columbia Pictures.

How to explain the novel's success? For openers, "Weird sells," as a colleague who teaches literature commented, wryly. Then, too, Brown and the Doubleday promotion machine, with superb timing, capitalized on the current disenchantment with Roman Catholicism due to the pedophilia and "lavender clergy" scandals, thus aiming at an already vulnerable target. The rise of radical feminism and the women's movement in general was also a powerful assist, as Newsweek's cover story on Mary Magdalene demonstrated (December 8, 2003). In The Da Vinci Code, the author claims to restore the feminine role to the place supposedly denied it by male church authorities. Add to that an opening murder inside the Louvre Museum in Paris, a labyrinth of symbolic clues followed by an embattled couple chased by Interpol, and intrigue involving the church, the state, and secret societies, and you have the perfect formula for a page-turner.


Excerpted from The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? by Hank Hanegraaff Paul L. Maier Copyright © 2004 by Hank Hanegraaff and Paul L. Maier. Excerpted by permission.
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