In the last few months, many were writing on the Da Vinci Code. We have decided to randomly collect a few and give them the prize of the Best, the Smart and the Dumbest of the Da Vinci Code (of Course after reading those). The Best award goes to Daniel Henninger, Deputy Editor of the Wall Street Journal.
Writing on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, in the article titled “Holy Sepulcre!”The Da Vinci Code" shows that conspiracy theories have no limits”, Henninger wrote:
Here's my theory of "The Da Vinci Code." Dan Brown was sitting one night at the monthly meeting of his local secret society, listening to a lecture on the 65th gospel, and he got to thinking: "I wonder if there's any limit to what people are willing to believe these days about a conspiracy theory. Let's say I wrote a book that said Jesus was married. To Mary Magdalene. Who was pregnant at the Crucifixion. And she is the Holy Grail. Jesus wanted her to run the church as a global sex society called Heiros Gamos, but Peter elbowed her out of the job. Her daughter was the beginning of the Merovingian dynasty of France. Jesus' family is still alive. There were 80 gospels, not four. Leonardo DiCaprio, I mean da Vinci, knew all this. The 'Mona Lisa' is Leonardo's painting of himself in drag. Da Vinci's secret was kept alive by future members of 'the brotherhood,' including Isaac Newton, Claude Debussy and Victor Hugo. The Catholic Church is covering all this up." Then Dan Brown said softly, "Would anyone buy into a plot so preposterous and fantastic?" Then he started writing.
The real accomplishment of "The Da Vinci Code" is that Dan Brown has proven that the theory of conspiracy theories is totally elastic, it has no limits.
The genre's future is limitless, with the following obvious plots: Bill Clinton is directly descended from Henry VIII; Hillary is his third cousin. Jack Ruby was Ronald Reagan's half-brother. Dick Cheney has been dead for five years; the vice president is a clone created by Halliburton in 1998. The Laffer Curve is the secret sign of the Carlyle Group. Michael Moore is the founder of the Carlyle Group, which started World War I. The New York Times is secretly run by the Rosicrucians (this is revealed on the first page of Chapter 47 of "The Da Vinci Code" if you look at the 23rd line through a kaleidoscope). Jacques Chirac is descended from Judas.
None of this strikes me as the least bit implausible, especially the latter. I'd better get started.”
Our Comment: We wish you a very best Henninger. You have caught the zeitgeist of the time. You really have a great future outside The Wall Street Journal.
The Smart award goes to Stephen Cox, the Austrian Economist and an author. In his column titled ‘The Individualist Cod’, in the Mises website, he commented:
What accounts for the popularity of "The Da Vinci Code" and other crackpot exposés of Christian history? Part of it is the novelty factor: many people know so little about the history of any religion that even the oddest and dumbest falsehoods seem fresh and provocative to them. But there's another explanation too: People have an instinct for liberty, an instinct that urges them to rebel against institutions they regard as authoritarian and anti-individualistic. Rightly or wrongly, many people see Christianity in this way.
Alas, Christians have often provided support for that view. Like other well-intentioned folk, they have used their good intentions as an excuse to govern their neighbors' lives — either by imposing laws against liquor or sex or "usury" or by commissioning the government to implement a "social gospel" of modern-liberal regulations and welfare schemes. These efforts at "reform" have notably failed to produce the effects intended, but failure has not removed the common perception that Christianity is inherently opposed to individual freedom.
To decide whether that perception is true, we need to do more than notice what particular groups of Christians have done in particular times and places. We need to look at the earliest and most revered statement of Christian beliefs, the one source of evidence that can never be omitted from any discussion of Christianity: the New Testament. It doesn't take Tom Hanks to discover that the deep coding of the New Testament isn't authoritarian but radically individualist. As a literary historian, I find some of the most convincing evidence of this code of individualism in the means that the New Testament uses to convey its message.
Contrary to popular belief, the New Testament is not a collection of social rules. It consists largely of stories about people's relationships with God, stories that go out of their way to emphasize the importance of individuals and individual differences. Jesus' own stories do this.
In his parable of the Good Samaritan, the villains are the official religious leaders, and the hero is the despised outsider (Luke 10:30-37). In Jesus' great sequence of stories about loss and redemption (Luke 15), the man who loses one of his hundred sheep doesn't say, "Don't worry; I've got ninety-nine more"; he goes out looking for that one sheep, and rejoices when he finds it.
Then there's the story about the woman who's lost a coin. There are few things in this world that seem more alike than coins (unless they are sheep). But the woman in Jesus' story doesn't say, "Oh, it's too bad — but after all, I've got more coins in the cupboard." Instead, she urgently searches her house for the little lost object. She cares about it just as much (and this is Jesus' point) as God cares about the individual, irreplaceable human soul.
Our Comment: Good Try Cox. We partially agree with you. However, we believe that there are many other reasons for the success of the Da Vinci Code and that these parables have a greater meaning.
Nevertheless, a smart try.
The Dumbest award honor goes to homosexual activist Ashok Row Kavi. In his The Hindustan Times article ‘Ringside view- Da Vinci is Da Truth ?’, Kavi wrote: The point I’m making is that Dan Brown hides another ‘truth’: there is no Jesus of history to even give the fig-leaf of imagination that little nail for Dan Brown to hang his fable on. Historian after historian really places the Mary Magdalene fiction on that other great mother goddess of Canaan, Astarte, the Biblical Ashtoreth mentioned in the Torah’s King lists similar to the Mesopotamian Ishtar. These fertility goddesses are taken up by Dan Brown because he knew the patriarchal themes of the edited new testament are now running out. What better than to dust off the old legends and run them down Hollywood way to revive the old Biblical story? The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Hammadi, a bone dry area of Israel, changed the early perceptions of what life must have been in the colonial period under Rome for the Jews. The Roman boot was heavy; their Temple in Jerusalem was finally destroyed in 67 CE leading to a vast Diaspora that is still reflected in what is now Israel. The Jews were so mentally disoriented as the smart people of the Middle-East, that a whole slew of religious mythologies based on fertile mixtures of Zorastrian and Macichaean thought grew up to keep the Jews going into first internal and then external exile.
Our Comment: Throughout the article, Kavi has employed strikingly similar methodology of Sir Teabing, the fictitious historian of the Da Vinci Code: transpose the ‘powerful image’ of later fourth c
entury Church to the persecuted first century Church, elevate non-historians to the level of reputed historians, ignore inconvenient facts, distort or even invent historical documents and then present their agenda as the original spirituality. Sir Teabing must be well-pleased to have such a faithful disciple. Good Kavi, you have learnt a lot from the Da Vinci Code. We don’t want to break your heart with facts.