Final Paper Example
World Literature Per.5
8 March 2007
Decoding the Truth
The conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy, the mysterious death of Princess Diana, and the recent novel The Da Vinci Code, refer to events never proven as true, only interpreted by individuals and their strong ideas. Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code, contains a far-fetched theory, lacking the ingredients to constitute itself as truth: evidence, logic and cross-referencing. To base any event on a conspiracy naturally leads to doubt because the premise relies on a “cover-up”, and any lack of evidence hides itself under the umbrella of “destroying itself to nullify the conspiracy.” Just as a con-man taints his tracks to shield himself from discovery, a conspiracy theory covers its facts to avoid discovery as well. Mr. Brown needs to choose a different foundation to stand on if he expects his readers to believe his book. The Da VinciCode lacks truth because no factual evidence supports the theory of Mary Magdalene’s marriage to Jesus, one can not determine the historical background of Jesus from Leonardo da Vinci’s work alone, and Dan Brown does not use sufficient evidence to support his facts but merely hides behind the curtain of conspiracy.
The reader of the The Da Vinci Code needs to ask them self what events caused Dan Brown to believe Mary Magdalene married Jesus. Is he the only one who knows she attended the last supper? We know Mary Magdalene witnessed Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection from Bible’s teachings, the only proven reference. Nothing is mentioned about her attending the last supper. Shockingly, Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code, states Jesus and Mary married and conceived a child. Any evidence proving Mr. Brown’s conspiracy does not exist! Dan Brown further claims in his book, The Da Vinci Code, Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper, suggests the two married:
The early Church needed to convince the world that the mortal prophet
Jesus was a divine being. Therefore, any gospels that described earthly
aspects of Jesus’ life had to be omitted from the Bible. Unfortunately for
the editors, one particularly earthly theme kept recurring in the gospels.
Mary Magdalene…More specifically, her marriage to Jesus Christ… It’s a
matter of historical record…The Last Supper practically shouts at the
viewer that Jesus and Magdalene were a pair. Their clothes were inverse
colors. Jesus wore a red robe and blue cloak; Mary wore a blue robe and
red cloak. (244)
Mr. Brown’s proof of a marriage lies in the opposing colors of their garments. Just because the color of the robes happened to associate contrary colors does not imply the two engaged in matrimony. Brown also suggested the position of their bodies create a negative “V” and an “M”; the M supposedly standing for Mary. Oddly, this “M” looks more like a lightning bolt than an M. Brown attempts to verify the nuptial of Mary and Jesus by saying Da Vinci created the “M” on purpose to signify the marriage- a hidden “code”. How can Brown determine a marriage from ONE painting? Michelangelo, known to be a sculptor and painter, did not hide secret messages in his work. Does any evidence point to proof of Da Vinci hiding secret messages in his paintings? We do know Da Vinci kept detailed notes of his ideas; however, the concealed idea of Jesus and Mary’s “marriage” never managed worthy of his mention. Artists paint what they desire to portray; their own unique style- not how others see it. Leonardo painted The Last Supper how he envisioned the scene. Darrel Bock, author of Breaking the Da Vinci Code, said, “Mary is one of seven people with this name in the New Testament… (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, (2) Mary of Bethany, (3) Mary, the brother of James who is not the Lord’s brother, (4) Mary, the wife of Clopus, (5) Mary, the mother of John Mark, (6) one otherwise undefined Mary, and (7) Mary Magdalene” (14). Any of these Mary’s has the possibility of having been the woman in the painting. Back then, woman associated their name with their husband, son or city they were born in. If Mary Magdalene and Jesus married, then Mary Magdalene’s name should be “Mary wife of Jesus” not Mary of Magdala. Notations of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s wedding contain no citing anywhere, including the Bible. Furthermore, no proof includes the reality of Jesus and Mary Magdalene conceiving a child. Alyson Ward said in an interview, “[the Da Vinci Code says] not only was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene- they had a daughter. Her name was Sarah” (www.search.epnet.com)! Dan Brown can not even refer to evidence of this child in any of Da Vinci’s paintings because the child simply does not appear in any of Da Vinci’s paintings. He seems to mention “Sarah” only to help confirm the marriage of Magdalene and Jesus, yet no evidence supports it. Da Vinci does not even seem convinced of the existence of a child.
Speaking of Leonardo Da Vinci, did he really have “secret codes” in his artwork and journals? Can anyone determine an entire background from his work only? Dan Brown poses these questions as well. History has proven Leonardo Da Vinci as an architect, painter, mathematician, and an inventor. In one interview with Mr. Brown, Linda Wertheimer asks, “Why Da Vinci?” Dan Brown answered by saying, “Because Da Vinci was a man centuries before his time… he loved codes; and he hid symbolic messages in his paintings… a fresco full of codes” (www.search.epnet.com) Just because Leonardo Da Vinci excelled in intelligence does not prove he knew anything about the man the majority of the free world believes as their Savior. These so called codes explain one man’s wild attempt to interpret the thoughts of an artistic genius with out proof! Da Vinci pictured in his mind how he thought The Last Supper appeared. If Michelangelo painted his picture of The Last Supper without ever looking at Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, it would illustrate a completely different look from Leonardo’s painting. Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliant mind and artistic abilities only prove the work of a gifted man, not a prophet. He never referred to any of these so called facts in his journals. If he knew about Jesus’ marriage, he most likely wrote them in his journal; yet, in all his journals, he never refers to these messages. Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince say, “The central figure is, of course, that of Jesus, whom Leonardo referred to as “the redeemer” in his notes for the work” (Burnstein, 213) Leonardo Da Vinci may not have referred to the marriage of Jesus, but he did refer to Jesus as The Redeemer. All reference to the Redeemer refers to God’s Son, Jesus; an unmarried man, childless, and sent to redeem our souls. An interviewed man said, “Some say this could be the greatest conspiracy of the past 2,000 years… new invention concocted in ones mind…just another new age hoax. The only reason this is entertained as possible or true is to diminish the truth of the Bible.” (www.letusreason.org). Mr. Brown’s goal of contracting the truth of the Bible includes hard work and effort; as far as evidence goes, it looks like Brown is off to a bad start to try and disprove Christianity. A critic stated, “This blasphemous book has become a major, central phenomenon, largely by attacking the very person and mission of Jesus Christ” (www.zenit.org). Dan Brown simply tries to disprove the existence of Christ or ridicule Him by saying He married Mary Magdalene to try an disprove Christianity.
How do we know Dan Brown used sufficient evidence in his book? Some believe because Mr. Brown says in the beginning of his book, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” (No pg. #), the book evidently holds the truth. However, in Richard Abanes book, The Truth behind the Da Vinci Code, He states, “[Dan Brown says] the pyramid outside the Louve in Paris is constructed of exactly 666 panes of glass” (11). Abanes says the official website of the Louve museum declares “[the Louve Museum] is covered in 673 diamond- shaped panes of glass”. Although this demonstrates a small piece to the immense puzzle, it does spoil the entire enigma. Why did Brown choose the number 666? Did he simply not research this or could it stand for the anti- Christ? Abanes also claims in his book, “[The Da Vinci Code says] the Greeks based their Olympic games on an eight year cycle as a tribute to the planet Venus, which in those days represented a goddess. In reality; however, the Olympics were held in honor for the Greek god Zeus. And they ran in a four year, not eight year, cycle” (11) He obviously did not do his research. If he says in the beginning that all of his writings contain accuracy, then why do his “concrete facts” contain erroneous mistakes? Let us take a look at Dan Brown and how his attitude exemplifies his conspiracy theories:
Such mistakes illustrate the book’s main weakness- its a lack of accuracy,
which is especially noticeable in connection to the conspiracy theory it
seeks to validate. This raises a fascinating point about Brown himself that
few people have explored: He seems to be somewhat of a conspiracy
bluff… Yet Brown maintains he is not a conspiracy theorist… and
he rejects tales of extraterrestrials, crop circles, and ‘other ‘mysteries’ that
permeate pop culture’. Of course when it comes to conspiracies within
Christianity… Brown has been quite willing to accept even the wildest of
charges. And he has used his novel to spread them. (Abanes, 11-12)
Mr. Brown lures people away from the most obvious of truths: Jesus Christ! Mr. Brown also made the mistake of saying the Mona Lisa received its name from the god Amon and the goddess Isis. Richard Abanes, once again, proved this wrong. He says “First, Leonardo himself did not even name this painting. He did not title any of his works… the painting is referred to only as ‘a portrait of a lady’… the name we are familiar with did not appear until Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 book… And this author is the only early source that calls it the Mona Lisa” (Abanes, 67). Mr. Brown’s facts are wrong once again. He tries to solve the whole puzzle with only a couple pieces. Furthermore, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, the two British authors of Holy Blood, Holy grail, sued Dan Brown in February for “ Stealing his [their] plot-which suggests that Jesus and Mary Magdalene wed and had a child, with their blood line existing to this day… Dan Brown, 41, freely acknowledges he read Holy Blood– the book itself being mentioned in Da Vinci” ( People Magazine 76). Evidently, Dan Brown may have plagiarized some of his facts from Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This shows Mr. Brown stole his “evidence” because he could not find supportive evidence of his own.
To base an entire theory on the discredibility of Jesus Christ and His ministry by falsely incriminating Him with a weak premise of someone’s interpretation of an artist’s painting seems ludicrous; however, Dan Brown exemplifies this in his book. He may not have facts to support his theory and he may get sued for using other’s ideas, but you have to give him credit for having the nerve to try to further his agenda of discrediting the Christian faith. Do not make the mistake of giving him credit for writing a factual book on the life of Jesus which merely contains fiction facts. The book demonstrates a suspenseful prose that keeps you on the edge of your seat even though you know it has no foundational truth. To get the real story of the life of Jesus, open the book which has dwelt on this earth for thousands of years and never considered as true to some people: the Bible. Filled with facts, logic and cross-referencing, it opens one’s mind to the key ingredients which constitute truth: God’s grace, mercy and love to all who believe.
Abanes, Richard. The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House
An Unholy Mess. People Magazine. March 13, 2006.
Bock, Darrel L. Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson,
Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. New York, New York: Random House, inc., 2003.
Dissecting the Da Vinci Code. Innovative Media Inc.
Let Us Reason: TV Special on Da Vinci Code asks: Was Jesus Married?
Ward, Alyson. Eight Surprising Fictions in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code.
Wertheimer, Linda. Dan Brown Discusses his Book The Da Vinci Code. National Public
Radio, 2004. (Interview)