The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown's interesting Grail (the san greal) novel presents a conspiracy theory as fact, and like most such theories, there are enough grains of fact, that a wave of reactionary books, documentaries, games, and products have mushroomed in the wake of the "explosive" central purported fact; that Jesus of Nazareth was married and that his descendants (the sang real) are still among us in hiding, battling against elements within the Church which have sought to suppress their very existence, and awaiting the moment when they will reveal themselves.

The book and the core mysteries make use of the genius of one man, Leonardo da Vinci, central to the theme of a long line of secret society masters, protecting the royal bloodline down through the ages to the modern day. It is a nice fiction, and who can state the degree of fact. Several of the books and items below are supportive of the basic Golden legend of the Sang|real; many are debunkers. My own historical fantasy series 'The Dragon Skies' makes use of the motif of a royal bloodline within the grail storyline, blending the romance and legends of the Scottish Merlin, the royal line of the house of Bran and the visible and hidden grails, against the backdrop of the battles and strife at the end of the 6th century during the rise to power of Northumbria in northern Britain. Dan Brown's story is not new.

If one accepts that the strength of the Christian Church rests upon the teachings of salvation of Jesus, then this novel is no more explosive than a shaken pop bottle. Should it really matter to the followers today whether Jesus was married? Most Christian men are adoring husbands and loving fathers. The 'patriarchal' leaders of the early church, stressing the divinity and teachings of the Christ, would have ignored the general facts much as the families of the apostles drifted into the background of their own calling and works. Conspiracy theorists will stress that the Church would make every effort to block such a fact. If one accepts even the basic germs of fact revealed in the Gnostic gospels, those of Philip, Mary, Nicodemus, and others; the real worry for the Church is the suppression of the role of women in the early Church; that Mary the true disciple and closest companion of the lord had to flee for her life in the wake of the crucifixion, fleeing the Romans as well as the male dominated schisms that ripped through Christ's followers: the struggles between the more Jewish sect of James, the sect that looked to Peter for guidance, and the new non-Jewish church of Paul. The Church would have to look back in upon itself and come to grips with the turmoil that still grips its priesthood today. Whether Jesus was married or not, the stress and later law by the Church for a celibate priesthood and use of the gospels to claim that Jesus was, inevitably leads to the crisis faced today within its ranks.

I enjoyed the movie. Ron Howard has carefully crafted an on screen vision that presents Brown's novel without overly dramatizing the controversy. His heroes, especially Hanks, are drawn into their fate, not driven by secret puppet strings to push an agenda. The villains, not the Church, not the Rector, nor even Opus Dei, but a small select group of zealous men within the ranks, are complex enough to be genuine. Each of us can decide for ourself what we believe. To be presented with a different vision will not shake the basic foundation. To understand that it is only theory and to read other accounts and interpretations, is part of our basic curiosity and search for gnosis.  

da Vinci's The Last Supper. Is that Mary on Jesu's right in the seat of honor?

The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, Hardcover
The Da Vinci Code Mass Market Paperback
The Da Vinci Code, Special Illustrated Edition Hardcover
The Da Vinci Code, Hans Zimmer (Audio CD)
The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenging Response to the Bestselling Novel, Richard Abanes, Paperback
Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, Paperback
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown and Paul Michael, Audio CD
The Real Da Vinci Code by Tony Robinson, Richard Barber (III), Thomas Bridwell, and Ann Graham Brock, DVD
Da Vinci Code Decoded by Dan Brown, Henry Lincoln, and Dan Burstein, DVD
Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Solves the 2000 Year Old Mystery, DVD
National Geographic - Is It Real? Da Vinci's Code, DVD
Fodor's Guide to The Da Vinci Code : On the Trail of the Bestselling Novel by Jennifer Paull and Christopher Culwell, Paperback
Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts by James Garlow and Peter Jones, Paperback
Exploring the Da Vinci Code: Henry Lincoln's Guide to Rennes-le-Château, Henry Lincoln, DVD
The Art and Mythology of The Da Vinci Code by David Morris and David M. Morris, Hardcover
Da Vinci Code Decoded Box Set: Totally Decoded by Dr. James Robinson, Danny Burstein, Martin Lunn, and Henry Lincoln, DVD
Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code : A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine, Bart D. Ehrman, Paperback
Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code, Dan Burstein