Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1760
Dr. Helal has taught courses on writing and English literature for several years, and has presented and published many papers and articles on women's writing. In this essay, Helal analyzes the curious discrepancy between the feminist message of the novel's theories about Christian history and the misogynist portrayal of its heroine, Sophie Neveu.
Mary Magdalene is arguably the true hero of The Da Vinci Code. She is the Holy Grail, the secret kept by the Priory of Sion, the figure to whom the main character bows in reverence in the final chapter, the "woman's voice … the wisdom of the ages … whispering up from the chasms of the earth" in the final sentence. Indeed, the success of The Da Vinci Code in seducing readers to believe her role is more central in Christianity than it seems is due in part to Brown's reverence for this forgotten female figure. Leigh Teabing interprets the Christian misrepresentation of Mary Magdalene as a conspiracy to suppress her importance: "That unfortunate misconception is the legacy of a smear campaign launched by the early Church. The Church needed to defame Mary Magdalene in order to cover up her dangerous secret—her role as the Holy Grail." Indeed, since Pope Gregory delivered a series of sermons in 591 that simplified her identity as a sinner in contrast to the other famous Mary, revered as Jesus' mother, Mary Magdalene has been depicted as a prostitute. Though historians generally do not "ascribe malicious intent to Gregory … who most likely wanted to use the story to assure converts that their sins would be forgiven," as Heidi Schlumpf argues in U.S. Catholic, Mary Magdalene's reputation has been tarnished for centuries. The Vatican did vindicate her in 1969, and many biblical scholars such as Jane Schaberg and Susan Haskins have reconstructed her image. Schlumpf hopes that "with the prostitute baggage properly disposed of, Mary of Magdala can emerge as a model of a faithful, devoted follower of the Lord, as well as a strong, independent leader in the early Church."
For many, the appeal of The Da Vinci Code is its seemingly feminist celebration of Mary Magdalene as one of the most heroic figures in Christian history. Surely the fictional heroine of Brown's novel is just as honorable. The attractive and accomplished Sophie Neveu is a cryptologist for the Central Directorate Judicial Police in Paris; however, though she initially appears as an assertive and intelligent character, Neveu regresses as the novel progresses. Any feminist message is further undermined when Brown presents his revision of Mary Magdalene's story by staging a conversation between two male teachers and a female student that replicates the very patriarchal system he seems to critique. Though the novel overtly engages Christian history to critique it from a feminist perspective, Sophie Neveu functions disturbingly as the passive vessel into which Leigh Teabing and Robert Langdon pour their theories about the lost sacred feminine.
Neveu, who is oddly called "Sophie" throughout a narrative that refers only to the surnames of the male characters, first appears as a "young Parisian déchiffreuse," or one who decodes complex messages. She has "studied cryptology in England at the Royal Holloway," an actual school internationally acclaimed for its academic research of cryptography—the science of enciphering and deciphering messages in secret code. She is defiant, fearless, and, of course, beautiful, to the dismay of her enemy Bazu Fache:
At thirty-two years old, she had a dogged determination that bordered on obstinate. Her eager espousal of Britain's new cryptologic methodology continually exasperated the veteran French cryptographers above her. And by far the most troubling to Fache was the inescapable universal truth that in an office of middle-aged men, an attractive young woman always drew eyes away from the work at hand.
Framing the heroine as a sort of rival to the misogynist Fache is one strategy Brown uses to present her favorably. He continues by shifting from Fache's perspective to Langdon's, emphasizing the contrast in the way she is seen differently by each male character:
Langdon turned to see a young woman approaching. She was moving down the corridor toward them with long, fluid strides … a haunting certainty to her gait. Dressed casually in a knee-length, cream-colored Irish sweater over black leggings, she was attractive and looked to be about thirty. Her thick burgundy hair fell unstyled to her shoulders, framing the warmth of her face. Unlike the waifish, cookie-cutter blondes that adorned Harvard dorm room walls, this woman was healthy with an unembellished beauty and genuineness that radiated a striking personal confidence.
If Fache's description of Neveu is meant to reveal more about his insecurity than her character, Langdon's description functions as the more definitive one. Yet, it is as remarkable that one's hair could be associated with the term "burgundy" as that her "unembellished beauty and genuineness" could be immediately perceived by a perfect stranger. Nevertheless, initially Neveu is meant to be a highly intelligent and benevolent character. When she helps Langdon escape the museum with a clever plan that fools Detective Fache and his entire team, Langdon concludes: "Sophie Neveu was clearly a hell of a lot smarter than he was." Brown's portrayal of her seems at first to be consistent with the feminist message of the alternative Christian history he will develop.
As the novel continues, however, Neveu seems inexplicably to lose her faculties. It is the symbologist, Langdon, who first interprets the cipher Saunière leaves, and when he declares that "It's the simplest kind of code!" Neveu "was stopped on the stairs below him, staring up in confusion. A code? She had been pondering the words all night and had not seen a code. Especially a simple one." Brown justifies her ignorance by declaring that her intelligence causes her to seek complexity. But even the narrative seems to reveal this interpretation as ridiculous:
Her shock over the anagram was matched only by her embarrassment at not having deciphered the message herself. Sophie's expertise in complex cryptanalysis had caused her to overlook simplistic word games, and yet she knew she should have seen it. After all, she was no stranger to anagrams—especially in English.
Neveu's inability to decode the simple anagram is followed by a narrative flashback in which she is a six-year-old girl, her "tiny hand" in her grandfather's as he leads her through the Louvre. As her memories of herself as a girl continue intermittently in the narrative, her adult self seems to regress into childhood. When Neveu learns about the Holy Grail from Langdon and Teabing, she is depicted as an innocent child:
Langdon sighed. 'I was hoping you would be kind enough to explain to Ms. Neveu the true nature of the Holy Grail.'
Teabing looked stunned. 'She doesn't know?'
Langdon shook his head.
The smile that grew on Teabing's face was almost obscene. 'Robert, you've brought me a virgin?… You are a Grail virgin, my dear. And trust me, you will never forget your first time.'
Of course, as Langdon relates, anyone unfamiliar with the Grail legend is traditionally called a virgin by those familiar with the story. But the repeated characterization of Neveu as virgin and the pleasure Teabing takes in flaunting his knowledge and superior position seems extremely odd because he will tell her that women have been subordinated in Christian history. Teabing's message is feminist; his demeanor is quite the opposite.
In fact, the entire section of Brown's novel that delves into the alternative Christian history that celebrates femininity has Langdon and Teabing lecturing a wide-eyed, ignorant Neveu. The feminist claims that Mary Magdalene was meant to be the first priest and that Christian leaders have demonized femininity contrast with the antifeminist portrayal of Neveu's character. The association of Sophie Neveu's name with wisdom does very little to counter terms used to describe her as she learns that the Holy Grail is a woman and can only stare in awe and ask simple questions. As Teabing declares that the Council of Nicaea established Jesus' divinity in 325 by a "relatively close vote," "Sophie's head was spinning…. Sophie glanced at Langdon, and he gave her a soft nod of concurrence." Strangely, it takes a long time for this accomplished cryptologist to grasp fully what Teabing and Langdon suggest: "The Holy Grail is a woman, Sophie thought, her mind a collage of interrelated ideas that seemed to make no sense." When she is told that the female Holy Grail appears in Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, she "was certain she had missed something" in looking for her in the painting, and "turned to Langdon for help. 'I'm lost.'"
As Langdon and Teabing race through their revisionist theories, Neveu always remains one step behind them. The divergence between Teabing's message and Brown's portrayal of Neveu having a hard time following him is striking:
'Peter expresses his discontent over playing second fiddle to a woman. I daresay Peter was something of a sexist.'
Sophie was trying to keep up. 'This is Saint Peter. The rock on which Jesus built his Church.'
'The same, except for one catch. According to these unaltered gospels, it was not Peter to whom Christ gave directions with which to establish the Christian Church. It was Mary Magdalene.'
Sophie looked at him. "You're saying the Christian Church was to be carried on by a woman?"
During this exchange, the feminist message of this alternative version of Christianity is given to and interpreted for the bewildered, "surprised," incredulous Neveu, who glances back to Langdon for his reassuring nods as Teabing relates the controversial claims. Teabing eventually addresses her as "my dear child," as he answers her questions, and his "words seemed to echo across the ballroom and back before they fully registered in Sophie's mind." The ideas that seem incredulous to Neveu are markedly simple. When she is told that "history is always written by the winners…. By its very nature, history is always a one-sided account," Brown writes, "Sophie had never thought of it that way." That an educated cryptologist would not have deduced that history could be manipulated seems quite astonishing, to say the least.
Ultimately, while the novel attempts to proclaim the feminist secret at the heart of the "greatest cover-up in human history," it conceals its own subordination of femininity in a narrative that moves so quickly readers hardly pause to actually consider what it suggests about its female characters in particular, and femininity in general.
Source: Kathleen Helal, Critical Essay on The Da Vinci Code, in Literary Newsmakers for Students, Thomson Gale, 2006.
Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1464
Arne Christensen is a writer and editor based in Seattle, Washington. His essay argues that although The Da Vinci Code presents itself as a stridently pro-feminist novel uncovering concealed truths about the Goddess and feminine principles in Christianity, it undermines this presentation by conforming to traditional gender stereotypes in its plotting and characters.
The heart of The Da Vinci Code consists of the assertion that the stories about Jesus propagated by the four Gospels and Christian doctrine are false. Dan Brown claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had a child with her and that, as part of a systematic attempt to deny and annihilate Goddess worship, Christianity has covered up these facts and replaced them with a mythical Jesus depicted in the Gospels. Brown’s novel extensively discusses this claim as it issues a call for the rediscovery and veneration of the Goddess as well as an accompanying recognition of the status of women as independent and powerful. However, both the plotting and the character development of The Da Vinci Code generally assign women to stereotypical, subordinate, and passive positions. Such sexism betrays The Da Vinci Code’s purported attempt to champion women’s rights and re-establish the lost practice of Goddess worship. By keeping the women of The Da Vinci Code in traditional roles created by the patriarchal culture the novel claims to oppose, Dan Brown undermines this attempt.
Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, and the relationship that forms between them, give the clearest example of the gender traditionalism that undermines The Da Vinci Code’s seemingly radical attempt to elevate the Goddess and women to a higher role. Although Langdon realizes that Sophie “was clearly a hell of a lot smarter than he was” when she ingeniously helps him escape from the Louvre, the novel introduces her by emphasizing her appearance and clothing over her intrinsic intelligence and capabilities. This introduction describes her primarily in sexual terms, as an object of Langdon’s burgeoning desire for her. And indeed, she is explicitly compared to “the waifish, cookie-cutter blondes” on dorm posters who are seen in purely sexual terms by Harvard’s male students.
Once Sophie and Langdon leave the Louvre, it seems that on key points Langdon is, in fact, smarter than she is. He and Sir Leigh Teabing painstakingly explain to her the secret of Christ’s marriage to Mary Magdalene; Leonardo’s hidden uncovering of this secret in The Last Supper and other paintings; and the fabricated theology, much of it taken from pagan religions, that the Catholic Church established. Sophie is repeatedly described as surprised and amazed by the revelations of her two companions and as only “trying to keep up” when Teabing assets that Saint Peter was jealous of the preferred status Jesus gave Mary Magdalene. Sophie, who was raised by the curator of the Louvre and is a sophisticated Parisian and devotee of Leonardo’s art who is used to cracking codes as a cryptographer for the DCPJ, or Judicial Police, has nonetheless never suspected that Leonardo might have enclosed hidden messages in his art. Similarly, when Teabing subsequently explains the cover-up of the real story of Christ and Magdalene by noting that “history is always a one-sided account,” the novel explains Sophie’s ignorance by saying that she “had never thought” of that possibility.
Although Sophie plays a primary role in initiating the action of The Da Vinci Code, she retreats into a largely reactive and relatively passive role in the events ensuing after the departure from the Louvre. This fits the tradition of thriller stories, in which males take a dominant role and women are relegated to positions of passive vulnerability. Vernet devises the plot by which Sophie and Langdon escape from the Depository Bank of Zurich, it is Teabing who stops Silas’ attack and enables the escape to England, and Teabing’s servant Rémy helps Sophie and Langdon escape detection in the hangar at the Kent airfield. Once the action turns to London, men dominate the proceedings. Silas and Rémy carry out the attack in the Temple Church, Rémy fakes the kidnapping of Teabing, Teabing kills Rémy, Silas and Bishop Aringarosa accidentally attack each other, and in the final confrontation with Teabing in Westminster Abbey, Langdon manages to outwit Teabing. Throughout, Sophie is reduced to a reactive position, and at the end of the novel, she is once again in the role that introduced her: the object of Langdon’s desire.
A comparison of Sophie’s background and status to Langdon’s corresponding position further reveals the traditional gender roles created by the novel. Although Sophie is single and childless, she is defined largely in terms of her blood ties, primarily to her grandfather, Saunière, but also to her missing parents, grandmother, and brother. This echoes the traditional cultural emphasis on defining individual women not by their own merits but in terms of their connections to family members. In contrast, Langdon’s blood ties are never mentioned: he is presumably a bachelor without children, but Brown says nothing about his lineage or any of his relatives. Langdon is defined by his own character, not by his links to family members. So it is that Brown constantly offers scenes of Sophie as a child interacting with her grandfather. While these scenes serve the purpose of explaining how Sophie came to be a cryptographer, they also reinforce the message that Sophie is dependant on her family members, and that her life choices have been directly shaped by her grandfather.
The Da Vinci Code’s reiteration of the classic emphasis on the dependant nature of women is displayed by its citation of the five stages of a woman’s life: birth, menstruation, motherhood, menopause, and death. In all three stages between birth and death, the woman is defined by her sexual status, which includes both her fertility and her prospective ties to sexual partners and her children. The elevation of Mary Magdalene from prostitute to Jesus’ wife may break with the traditional image of her, but it continues to define her in sexual terms. Magdalene is now described as the mother of Jesus’ child and therefore a co-founder with him of France’s Merovingian dynasty, but subsequent to her flight to France, we are told nothing about her actions in France other than that she gave birth to Sarah, the product of the union between her and Jesus. Mary Magdalene, like Sophie, is essentially defined not by her individual qualities or actions, but by her blood ties. She is venerated as the Holy Grail solely because of her status as Jesus’ wife and the mother of the child they created.
The symbolism of the chalice and the blade, which serves as a central metaphor for the positions of men and women in The Da Vinci Code, establishes an extraordinarily crude and stereotypical description of men and women. Men are defined by their phallus and their aggression, while women are defined by their vagina and womb and their ability to give birth. In the novel these stereotypes are fulfilled by making men the exclusive source of violence and establishing women as victims of that violence. Sophie is held hostage at gunpoint by Teabing before being rescued by Langdon and Fache’s police; Mary Magdalene is forced to flee to France for fear of being murdered; and the novel’s two minor female characters, Sister Sandrine at Saint-Sulpice and Marie Chauvel, are secluded women who meekly serve the Goddess. Sandrine is defenseless against the fury of Silas, and Marie withdraws into hiding after the car accident that killed Sophie’s parents.
By having female characters fulfill traditional roles and conform to cultural stereotypes, The Da Vinci Code unwittingly undermines its own authority as a champion of women and the sacred feminine principle. Even as it advances seemingly radical ideas about Mary Magdalene, Jesus, the Goddess, and the cover-up and conspiracy behind the Catholic Church, the novel quietly, but forcefully, keeps women within their traditional confines as carriers of family ties, victims of male violence, and members of a gender largely defined by its sexual behavior and status. This condition, which is symbolized by the chalice and blade, renders The Da Vinci Code, despite its many surprising elements, as an essentially conventional thriller novel that characterizes men as active aggressors while having women react to the actions of men from a position of weakness. In the end, the novel, with its insistent emphasis on women’s roles in childbirth and carrying blood ties, foregoes the possibility of developing its seemingly feminist assertions, which would require depicting women as transcending those purely biological facts to become fully capable individuals deserving the same kind of respect and status that the novel’s men enjoy.
Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1836
David Partikian is a freelance writer and a college English instructor. In this essay he argues that because of The Da Vinci Code's commercial success, and its emphasis on individual, as opposed to church-based, salvation, the Catholic Church was forced to respond to the book's assertions.
While the Catholic Church and many figures of organized religion have objected to books over the centuries, in recent years few books have raised such vituperative ire as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. The Vatican even went so far as to appoint the Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to hold public debates and rebut the “shameful and unfounded errors” in Brown’s thriller (Pauli 2005). Representing another Catholic response, Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel, writing in The Da Vinci Code Hoax, state that Brown’s work “is custom made fiction for our time: pretentious, posturing, self-serving, arrogant, self-congratulatory, condescending, glib, illogical, superficial and deviant.”
How is it that fiction can rankle feathers so? Previous works questioning Catholic authority—such as Dostoyevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor,” a chapter in The Brothers Karamazov—raised nary an eyebrow, though it also alludes to a Catholic conspiracy keeping the common man in the dark. While Dostoyevsky’s Inquisitor wants to deprive the people of choice for their own good, Brown writes favorably of alternatives to Catholic dogma that grant each person the freedom to choose the god with which he or she is most comfortable. Is this what makes organized religion, and the Catholic Church in particular, so nervous?
Organized religion relies largely on dogma and faith; The Da Vinci Code emphasizes a spiritual quest, without the dogma, that many people who are naturally distrustful and resentful of authority prefer. And by couching his arguments in the body of a page-turning thriller, Brown is able to reach a mass of readers who seldom think of these issues.
A book need not be a masterpiece in order to be relevant. The Da Vinci Code is certainly not a novel of high literary merit; it is a plot-driven suspense novel with weak character development. The writing is formulaic and linear; it follows the successful key elements of a romance novel by having sympathetic male and female heroes with interesting professions (Harvard “Symbologist” Richard Langdon and beautiful French decipherer, Sophie Neveu), a major event that brings them together (the murder of Ms. Neveu’s father), an insurmountable obstacle with which they must contend (the police and cultists), and numerous plot “twists” that complicate the resolution and a happy ending (Olsen and Miesel 2004). What’s more, the book appears to be written for an audience accustomed to generations weaned on television: the chapters are short, leaving the reader in a state of suspense and allowing for limited attention spans. In short, these formulaic elements help the book appeal to a large, mainstream audience that, for the most part, has never questioned the validity of the authority of an organization such as the Catholic Church, rather than a select few with esoteric, and therefore less threatening, interests.
In spite of these stylistic “weaknesses,” there is an element to the plot combining religious themes and conspiracy theories that sets the book apart from the run-of-the-mill thriller. The book’s main premise that Jesus Christ was not divine but rather was a mere human with sexual desires that he fulfilled is regarded as sacrilegious by many. In addition, through his “expert” fictional characters (there is no professor of “Symbology” at Harvard), Brown asserts a theory that in its early history the Catholic Church appropriated Jesus from the people and conspired to present him to the world as a fabricated image of a divine being in order to consolidate its own growing secular power.
Although Brown's take on Jesus Christ’s “private life” is "sacrilegious" enough, by emphasizing the conflict between organized religion, which demands that a person believe a certain set of rules or dogma, and spirituality or faith, which allows a person to seek truths outside of organized religion, he virtually assured that his book would raise eyebrows.
Dan Brown does not have the scholarly credentials to make his claim. Instead, he must rely on his skill as a writer of fiction. There are no footnotes, a requirement for any work that attempts to chronicle events and put forth a believable interpretation of history for scholarly debate. The author’s assertion of “FACT” prior to the book’s prologue, which states that the sect Opus Dei is a prelature of the Vatican and that the Priory of Sion is a real organization, is an example of guile and self-promotion, nothing more. Brown’s use of “real” organizations in his plot does not qualify the book as non-fiction, nor does it make it historically or sociologically accurate.
Additionally, many of Brown’s assertions, which he manifests by means of the “experts,” Leigh Teabing and Langdon, are easily refuted; the book is riddled with exaggerations and outright falsehoods concerning church history that make the plot more plausible. For example, in establishing the church’s complicity in promoting a contrived image of Jesus, Brown (through Teabing) asserts that the divinity of Jesus was first broached at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 and that the decision was the result of a “very close vote.” However, as scholars have pointed out, the divinity of Christ was affirmed centuries earlier. What’s more, the final vote count at Nicaea, which emphasized a particular type of divinity, was at least 218 - 2 (Bock 2004). Falsehoods like this play right into the contemporary cultural context of disputed elections and the mindset of post-9/11 Americans who are acutely aware of the dangers of religious extremism. Nevertheless, the fact that the book’s message is cloaked in numerous historical falsehoods and exaggerations does not ultimately invalidate its assertion that anyone can seek salvation through a personal conception of God or Jesus.
One of the reasons for the book’s vast popularity is that it exploits Americans’ penchant for conspiracy theories. There are two key elements to a good conspiracy theory, and Brown taps into both of them. First, an obvious fact given as truth or a long-standing legitimate authority must be questioned. In Brown's case, the divinity of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Catholic church to represent that divinity are disputed. Second, an elite group is accused of keeping the real truth a secret in order to advance illegitimate claims, usually of power. Brown uses the Catholic church as his scapegoat here, often referring to it as “the Vatican.”
While Brown's constant referrals to “the Vatican” can easily be construed as a slur against Catholics in general (not to mention the fact he portrays the novel’s main Catholic characters, Silas and Aringarosa, negataively), Brown broaches subjects that make organized Christians, especially Catholics, nervous for other reasons. While it is inevitable that modern individuals will approach and discuss religion from historical and political perspectives, organized religions would prefer that the masses stick to dogma. But because the book has sold over sixteen million copies, its ideas that are normally confined to academic circles have been introduced to the masses. As a result, the Catholic Church has been suddenly put in a Catch-22 situation. If members respond to the charges, they are, in effect, validating Brown’s thesis that the Catholic Church has a stake in maintaining a contrived image of Jesus Christ in order to maximize its own power. Ignoring the charges, however, has the potential of creating its own set of problems.
The Catholic church cannot refute that it—like all other religions—is a political movement; the Vatican is a legal state and cannot pretend to be above politics. Over the centuries, the Church, and many other religious movements, have suppressed minority voices and dissenters. The campaigns against various "heresies," such as the Cathars, are well chronicled. While Brown’s claim that over five million witches were burned at the stake is an exaggeration, there is well-documented evidence that many people, predominantly women, were executed and many were burned. Although the writers of The Da Vinci Hoax dismiss many of these “feminist” arguments against the Church, the idea that the Catholic Church kept women and other potential troublemakers in line through witch hunts is as plausible as any other theory.
By successfully incorporating these ideas into a suspense-thriller, Brown has introduced millions of people to the idea that Christianity is a political movement. While his facts are often wrong, Brown is granting individuals the impetus to disregard religious dogma and explore faith and spirituality on their own.
Any discussion of religion that is held from the basis of an open mind and not from the perspective of blind obeisance, should be welcomed, especially in a pluralistic society. Faith without a period of doubt is blindness. Better that people experience some doubt, engage in their own quest for truth, and make up their minds as a result of their own life experiences; let those who wish to do so choose organized religion on their own accord.
Organized religions cannot thrive in the atmosphere of doubt that The Da Vinci Code inspires; what’s worse for them, Brown’s book has led to a resurgence of interest in other more historically accepted, though still controversial, books that question the Church's foundations and endorse individual quests for truth, such as Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels. Pagels argues that “[s]alvation is not about overcoming sin through God’s assistance; rather, it is the overcoming of ignorance through self-knowledge” (Pagels 1989). This belief is irreconcilable with Catholic dogma, and if a significant percentage of Brown’s readers turn to Pagels and others like her, church leaders will have trouble on their hands.
With all this in mind, the Catholic reaction can be read as defensive measure that promotes its dogma over alternative modes of individualized worship. Ultimately, each individual must come to his or her own religious conclusions, often in a brief, indefinable moment of clarity, which the Catholics call “epiphany.” Ironically, it is Langdon who experiences such a moment in the closing moments of The Da Vinci Code when he kneels before the presumed tomb of Mary Magdalene: “With a sudden upwelling of reverence, Robert Langdon fell to his knees. For a moment, he thought he heard a woman’s voice . . . the wisdom of the ages . . . whispering up from the chasms of the earth.”
Is this not the conversion of the dry, rational, “symbologist” to a spiritual outlook? Langdon is experiencing a true transcendent moment. Is there something wrong here? Why does organized religion belittle this, if not because it strives for blind obedience to dogma, just as the plot of The Da Vinci Code contends?
Bock, Darrell L. “Fact, Fiction and The Da Vinci Code.” Human Events, 7 June 2004.
Olsen, Carl E. and Sandra Miesel. The Da Vinci Code Hoax. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.
Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels. New York: Vintage, 1979; reprint, 1989.
Pauli, Michelle. “Vatican Appoints Official Da Vinci Code Debunker.” Guardian Unlimited, 15 March 2005.