Is the Da Vinci Code True?
Part I – Jesus and Mary Magdalene
In one of my most recent posts, “Does Religion Cause War?, I mentioned some misinformation in Dan Brown’s book, Angels & Demons. For some reason, I feel compelled to dredge up some of other blunders from his book the Da Vinci Code. You may wonder why I would waste time doing this? I suppose it’s because many people still put stock in the claims of the Da Vinci Code as if they were true, or perhaps because this book presents many popular myths and misconceptions regarding Christianity which are always in season. Many people have been duped into believing false claims regarding Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, the Catholic Church, the Bible, and more.
What the Da Vinci Code claims: Mary Magdalene’s name was outlawed by the church and her memory was suppressed for hundreds of years. In fact, the church called her a prostitute to undermine her position as head apostle.
What the real truth is: The Catholic Church did not suppress Mary’s memory or outlaw her name, not remotely. In fact, she is portrayed positively in all four Biblical Gospels and in the majority of the early Christian’s writings. Moreover, she had a prominent role in the Bible as a close follower of Jesus and as the first witness to His resurrection (Jn.20:14-18). The truth is that Mary Magdalene is mentioned more in Scripture than some of the Apostles are! Some of the early Church leaders termed her the “Apostle of apostles.”
So much for suppressing her name and trying to erase it from history.
What the Da Vinci Code claims: Jesus married Mary Magdalene and this fact has been examined in detail and explored endlessly by historians.
What the real truth is: Actually, real scholars and historians wholeheartedly disagree with the Da Vinci Code and its assertion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child. It’s no surprise why Dan Brown doesn’t cite any reliable or credible sources to support his claim. Rather, he quotes from the Gnostic Gospels which were written hundreds of years after Jesus’ birth, from a fictional movie (The Last Temptation of Christ), and from some other unscholarly authors (e.g. Margaret Starbird and Michael Baigent, etc.)
Incidentally, this hoax of Jesus being married with child was invented in the 1900s. It was first published in a book called, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This is one of the DVCs most relied on sources, and even though Dan Brown touts this book as fact, one of its authors, Michael Baigent had a different thought. When Baigent was asked whether he had any evidence to support his claims, he responded; “There’s none whatsoever. It’s purely hypothesis on our part, but I think it’s a plausible one…” (Discovery Times Channel Documentary). Wow. Purely hypothesis. Perhaps Dan Brown should choose more carefully when choosing sources to rely on.
What the Da Vinci Code claims: Jesus being married makes infinitely more sense because he was Jewish. Jewish men were virtually forbidden not to marry.
What the real truth is: Virtually forbidden but not actually forbidden. Notice the cunning way in which this is worded. Although it was perhaps odd not to marry, it was not unheard of, nor condemned. Jeremiah the prophet was not married, nor was John the Baptist, nor were many in the Jewish Essene community who took vows of virginity.
Karen King, a history professor at Harvard Divinity and a leading authority on Mary Magdalene says, “This notion that she’s talked about as being from this place [Magdalene] indicates that she was independent. While it would have been unusual for a Jewish man like Jesus to not be married, it was not unheard of. The really odd thing would be to have Mary married to Jesus, to have them next to each other in the same [Biblical] text and for it not to be mentioned” (The National Geographic News – Dec 17th, 2004).
What the Da Vinci Code claims: Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper has secret codes depicting that the Holy Grail was not a cup but a bloodline [The lineage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene]. There is no chalice on the table, and the person to Jesus’ right is unmistakably female. The reason is because it is Mary Magdalene next to Jesus and not St. John. Leonardo painted her there as a way to secretly allude to the bloodline.
What the real truth is: Wow, a nice conspiracy theory, but no. The reason why there is no chalice on the table is because the painting conforms to the Florentine tradition of the Last Supper which depicts the sacrifice of Jesus rather than the imparting of the Eucharist. This is the reason there is no cup on the table, the reason that there is whispering going on, and the reason there is an apostle with a knife behind his back.
Secondly, it doesn’t take a scholar to know that the person sitting next to Christ is St. John the Apostle and not Mary Magdalene. In Leonardo’s personal journal, he wrote the names of who was present in his painting. Da Vinci himself stated that the person next to Jesus was … drum roll please … St. John the Apostle. End debate.
Also See: Did Jesus Have a Wife?