Cracking the Da Vinci Code

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If you have not read the Da Vinci Code and you require suspense while you read, please return to this site after you finish, because I will spoil the story!

Like millions of readers, I consumed Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday, 2003) from cover to cover. I also researched the premises behind the novel. My main authority is Sir Laurence Gardner’s non-fiction Bloodline of the Holy Grail (Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press 2001). From here on, quotations will be referenced to either Brown or Gardner with chapter or page numbers.

Dan Brown is not the first to treat these issues in novel form. If you enjoyed Da Vinci Code, pick up Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (New York: Harcourt 1986). Also set in the contemporary period, its disclosures are truly amazing. The prose is dense and is not feverishly paced as is Brown’s, but it is prose that fans of literature will enjoy.

Many readers want to know whether the premises are as Dan Brown describes them. The answer comes in two parts: Yes, Brown is correct that there have been secret societies in Europe since the Crusader Period, and these societies taught initiates a history for Jesus of Nazareth that was substantially different from the history taught by the Church (Brown, chapters 58, 60, 62). Sir Laurence Gardner, a Templar and Prior of St. Columba (see author’s credits), published the first edition of his book seven years before Dan Brown published his novel. In the novel, Brown cites sources from the 1980’s (Brown p. 253), all of which provide the similar details of the alternative history of Jesus.

The second part of the answer depends on whether the alternative history to Jesus has any credibility. That is ultimately a matter of judgment. What some find credible may, by the many, be found incredible. For example, some believe that reports of outer-space alien visitations on Earth are very credible and that the U.S. military is covering it up. Others debunk the UFO stories on scientific grounds. I find the story that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead to be credible because it fits within my broader convictions about the power and purpose of God. Others find the story to be incredible, whether on scientific grounds or given the premises of other belief systems. I believe, on historic and sociological grounds apart from my religious sentiments, that the esoteric, alternative history of Jesus posed by the secret Grail societies has no credibility. The menu of essays displayed here are intended to show that the arguments made by Dan Brown, Sir Laurence Gardner and others do not rest on the facts of history.


About Rev. Jonathan Wilson

I serve a small church in Chicago which is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church. This project, "Cracking the Da Vinci Code" is entirely my sole responsibility; it is independent of my congregation and my denomination and should NOT be construed as representative of their views.


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