Dan Brown has said in interviews that his book is 99% true, and the fiction is the characters and their actions. This is not correct, as the main source of his research was, in fact, a book of falsehoods, which he believed.
I have read the book and I have seen the movie. The storyline is well-written and it’s a thoughtful “what if.” However, as an amateur theological historian (and I mean AMATEUR) I was shocked at the inaccuracies of the original work “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.” I am even more shocked from a theological standpoint, as the theory is heretical at the least.
There are many untrue facts in the book, but the main thing is that Dan Brown (and those who believe the theories contained in it) are denying the divinity of Jesus. The main idea in the book is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child. As Christians all know, Jesus was the second person of the Trinity, God incarnated to die for our sins. He had human DNA from his mother, Mary, but he did not have a human father. Therefore, it wasn’t possible for Him to father a child. Furthermore, He came into the world in human form as part of God’s plan for our salvation, not to mate with humans.
The church needs to teach their history. Forty percent of people believe the daVinci Code, because they recognize things like Mary Magdalene, Last Supper, and Constantine. Here are some of the inaccuracies presented in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and repeated in the daVinci Code:
- To begin with, Leonardo daVinci was not the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, which didn’t even exist in his lifetime. It came into existence in 1956, as part of a fraudulent non-profit organization involving a Frenchman by the name of Pierre Plantard, who went so far as to slip documents into the National Library in France. Plantard went to jail for six months as a result. According to Leonardo’s own sketches, the figure in the Last Supper that has been repeatedly mistaken for Mary Magdalene is John. John was painted in the Renaissance style of an idealized young boy having a feminine appearance. That he was a woman is only possible to those who are uneducated in Renaissance (and Florentine in particular) art.
- Mary Magdalene was not erased from the Gospels. All four include her as a witness to the resurrection. Nor was she suppressed; she is mentioned by name twelve times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other woman in the gospels, other than Jesus’s mother. She was not turned into a prostitute to undermine her credibility as a leader in the early church, but because of confusion on the part of Pope Gregory the Great. The Gospel of Thomas, cited as proof of competition between Mary Magdalene and the other disciples, especially Peter, has no crucifixion and no resurrection. Although this gospel is used as proof of a marriage because Jesus kissed her, it was customary to kiss family and close friends, disciples in the same Christian community. Paul says to greet one another with a holy kiss. Furthermore, the legend of Mary Magdalene and her child being set adrift in a boat and eventually landing in France is a late medieval tradition. This same legend continues to state that she, her daughter, and Jesus were the ancestors of the Merovingian Kings of France, who ruled Europe from the decline of Rome into the Middle Ages. It claims that they were named for her. In fact, the name “Merovingian” does not come from Mary but rather from the founder of the dynasty, Merovich.
- The authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail allege that one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, uncovered in the 1940s and 1950s, talk about documents and various treasures around the temple. Based on Dead Sea Scrolls, the authors speculate that the Knights Templar could have found documents related to the “Sang Real,” but they ignore the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in pre-Christian times.
- Constantine did not take an ordinary son of a carpenter and turn him into the Son of God. By the time of the Council at Nicea in A.D. 325, history shows us that the central faith and belief system of Christianity had long been established. The council came together to affirm what the bishops and church leaders had been teaching for 200 years. They rubber-stamped the gospels by a vote of 218 to 2, which is not “a relatively close vote” as Brown claims. In fact, Paul asserted to the deity of Jesus almost 300 years prior to the Nicene Council and Constantine. The similarity and concise understanding of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and salvation are written quite clearly by Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, John, James, and Paul in the first century. The Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) are incredibly clear about what constitutes true salvation and sound doctrine.
- There is no written mention of the Holy Grail until the 1100s, over 1000 years after the time of Jesus.
- Opes Dei means “the work of God,” and is an international organization founded by Josemaria Escriva, a Spanish priest, in 1926. It is far from a sinister cult, and far from secret. Its members seek holiness though their daily activities, not through self punishment, as Silas, the albino monk. Opes Dei received much negative attention as a result of how they were portrayed.
- Brown gives the impression that the Rose Line running through St Sulpice is somehow relevant. He also states incorrectly that the zero longitude of the entire world ran through Paris until 1888. The Greenwich and Paris meridians were defined by the Observatories and the telescopes in them used to chart the stars and both were in use until (and beyond) 1888. The fact that the Paris meridian runs through the Church of St Sulpice is a complete coincidence. Also, Paris was not stripped of the “honour” of having the prime meridian, it was a practical decision based on the strength of British sea trade at the time. Until the development of accurate sea clocks the exact position of the prime meridian was not that critical.
- Rosslyn Chapel has become tourist attraction for those visiting Scotland because the Da Vinci Code claims that the head of John the Baptist is inside the apprentice’s pillar, and the documents of the Sang Real are buried underneath. Imaging devices were brought in to test out some of the theories and speculations that were put forward in the novel. There is nothing inside the apprentice’s pillar, nor underneath it. There are indeed knights buried underneath the chapel’s floor, but they are not of the Knights Templar, as the Knights Templar ceased to exist 150 years before construction of Rosslyn Chapel even began.
…And I could go on and on. Enjoy the book and movie if you like, as right on the front cover you will find the words “A Novel.” Please do not make the mistake of denying the divinity of Jesus, simply because of a popular novel.