Why all the fuss about The Da Vinci code, considering it’s just a piece of fiction?

Full Question

I have just read Catholic Answers’ report on the novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I have to say that the Church seems very flustered about the book. Surely the Church has nothing to fear from a work of fiction, no matter what the view of the author.


Actually, the Church as an institution has had no comment, one way or the other, on The Da Vinci Code. The book has not been placed by the Vatican on any “forbidden books” list nor have any “official” sanctions been placed on it. Those who are concerned are faithful Catholics, clerical and lay, who have seen the book confuse Catholics and other Christians about the character of people in the early Church, the relationship of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, and orthodox Christian doctrine.

Although many have claimed that Christians shouldn’t be concerned about the novel because it is fiction, Brown himself has touted the book as the fruit of factual research. He opens the novel with a “Fact Page” that purports to be unvarnished truth. In other words, he wants people to believe that his conclusions in the novel are true.

Even had Brown not advertised his book to reveal hidden “truths” about Christianity, the device of fiction does not grant authors the right to disseminate historical untruths. Analogously, a novel that purported to reveal that the Holocaust never happened and that Adolf Hitler was really a great guy would be (quite properly) discounted by people of good will everywhere as anti-Semitic agitprop. Indeed, in this day and age, such a book would likely never see publication, at least by mainstream publishers. If such a book as that could not be defended with the disclaimer “It’s only a novel!” then other books that spread historical untruths also cannot be defended as “only fiction.”


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    What nonsense. There’s no way for the Church to prove what is or is not a historical truth because no historical evidence exists – only evidence of a religious or mythical background. Even for the religious (which of course is biased) evidence that we have – none of it is original. All we have is copies, and the copies we have contain many errors, contradictions, edits, etc. and date to 100 years or more after Jesus’ death, and most copy remnants are much older than that. Jesus, if he existed was a virtual unknown, as no historians of the time wrote about him. The first historian to write about him (and much is disputed about what he actually wrote) didn’t write until the mid-90’s CE, more than six decades after the events in question. To accuse Brown of playing fast and loose with historical evidence is ridiculous because no such historical evidence from the time of Jesus exists, and there were a number of historians at the time writing about other people who did in fact exist. If Jesus existed, he was apparently a virtual unknown to all of them.
    It’s unlikely that Jesus was a physical person. Paul writes of a cosmic Jesus who he probably though was crucified in outer space by Satan (that’s where they thought Hell was then). He doesn’t know anything about Jesus’ family, birth, ministry, disciples, miracles or facts about his crucifixion or resurrection – none of it. Wouldn’t you expect him to answer questions from his congregations with examples from Jesus’ life and death? Wouldn’t you expect his sheeple to have questions about Jesus’ life? There’s nothing. It seems they understood Jesus to be a cosmic god, like others of the time. Paul doesn’t know anything about a real, physical Jesus. It was whoever the author of Mark got his info from that apparently made Jesus a flesh and blood human, copying from several mythologies active at that time like Romulus and the Ascension of Isaiah.
    It’s possible that there was a real physical Jesus, but the odds are lopsidedly against it. For a very detailed investigation of all the evidence available to us, see Richard Carrier’s study on the historicity of Jesus. I always figured there was a real Jesus even if he wasn’t a god, but having read his book, I now doubt it.

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