Saturday, July 15, 2006

Book Thoughts : The Da Vinci Code

Short of it - Good writing, interesting characters, and exciting ride. Long of it - So, apparently this is a pretty well known book, eh?....;) I decided to see what all the hype was about. I actually started with Angels and Demons which was a great novel and was glad I did for some of the allusions to that story found in The Da Vinci Code. However, having finished the second and first books, I have to say that it seems pretty apparent that Mr. Brown has some major issues with the Catholic church. I'm not Catholic and didn't really take offense, but it's pretty blatent. That being said, he is a very talented author who weaves a pretty engaging fictional tale. I really enjoyed both books. There was quite an uproar right before the movie came out (I didn't see it cause I hadn't read the book) from some Christians who wanted the movie censored. As someone who tries to follow Jesus, I gotta say that I don't think that was a good way to go about it. Yes, there's some pretty wild claims put forth by Mr. Brown, but if someones faith can be rocked by a "historical" piece of fiction, they need it to be shaken so that they can figure out exactly what it is they believe. The "fact page" of the book really doesn't go so far as to claim (in as much as I can see) that Mr. Brown is purporting his theories as fact. The details of the "fact page" are intentionally narrow in scope. In particular,

All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.
I imagine the descriptions are quite accurate. His interpretations and theories are very much open to debate- as is painfully obvious by the uproar:) I'm not gonna go into detail on why I disagree with certain theories. I don't know that I have a good enough memory nor the knowledge to write intelligently to that, but I've read many of "extra" gospels he refers to in the book. He doesnt' refer to all of them - there are quite a few and he does a fair bit of cherry-pickin'. In my early 20's I went through a phase of questioning my faith and I read a lot of texts that are beyond the "cannon" of the Protestent Bible and in doing so, it was painfully obvious why many of the texts didn't make the cut. However, the Catholics have a few more books that the protestants (namely, the Apocrypha), and the Eastern Orthodox others still. As far as I know, most of those have to do with the Old Testatment. In regards to the "lost gospels", if we suddenly found a document that claimed to be a testament of the life of Abraham Lincoln and it said that Abe in fact led an invasion of western China we might just pause a moment to compare that to what we already knew before just accepting it at face value. I'm comfortable with the idea the Bible I have is the one I have for a reason. I imagine that most people will believe what they want to believe as the character, Robert Landon, himself points out in the book. If you want to believe that Jesus was just a man and has no claim on your heart and are willing to accept fiction as fact, this book is a very entertaining way to get you there. If you want to find out actual facts, perhaps starting in the non-fiction aisle is a better place to begin.

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