Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

It is important to be aware that The Da Vinci Code is literary fiction; the appearance of historical accuracy is only superficial. Brown’s book is a minefield of disinformation for the unwary reader. He disturbs scholars of history and theology alike with his claims to legitimate scholarship, when evidence suggests that his sources are often from latter-day mystics rather than from reliable academic research. There is, however, a consistent reality behind Dan Brown’s fictionalized Church and art history: For instance, the Church has, indeed, suppressed alternative Gospels, many written by sects denounced as heretical a few centuries after Christ.

The discriminating reader may notice that the book is a somewhat formulaic mystery, and not a notably executed representative of the genre. Still, it was on The New York Times best-seller list for more than two years and was made into a film starring Tom Hanks. Brown’s achievement is that he has made ecclesiastical history exciting for the general public. He has also created a cottage industry of refutation against his claims regarding apocryphal writings. While these early writings do suggest that Jesus intended a more active role for women than what subsequently developed, none claim that Jesus was married as the novel does. A married Jesus is, at best, an unlikely possibility among serious students of early biblical history.

As a story, The Da Vinci Code considers the...

(The entire section is 591 words.)