The DaVinci Code: Just a Novel?

Some have unknowingly brushed aside the ramifications of “The DaVinci Code” by saying things like, “Even Dan Brown admits it is just a work of fiction!” But that is where they are wrong. Dan Brown does not admit that his book is “just a work of fiction.”

In an interview conducted on the Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Mr. Brown the question, “How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred? I know you did a lot of research for the book.” To which Mr. Brown replied, “Absolutely all of it. Obviously, there are–Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact.”

If it were strictly a work of fiction, it could be used hypothetically to help believers consider what such an alternative approach to history would imply concerning their very lives (see 1 Cor. 15:12-19). After summarizing the book, we could entertain questions like, “If such were true, what would this make of the story told in the New Testament?” and “What difference does it make?”

T. S. Eiot observed, concerning works of fiction, that people have a tendency to let their guard down precisely because what they are reading is considered “fiction.”

N.T. Wright is recognized as one of the leading scholars of the New Testament in the world today. In an address he delivered at Seattle Pacific University concerning the The Da Vinci Code, he begins by arguing,

“The task of engaging the culture with the Christian gospel and so working to transform the world always includes three elements. First, we must speak truthfully about Jesus of Nazareth, and explain how it is what we discover who God is by looking at him. Second, we must do so in full engagement with the world of our own day, understanding its ebbs and flows, its fashions and follies, the places where it has got things gloriously right and the places where it has got things gloriously wrong. Third, we must be prepared to refute — that is, to give a reasoned rebuttal of, not simply to say we disagree with — popular misconceptions which leave people with muddled and misguided ideas about Jesus and the nature of Christian faith. And the point about The Da Vinci Code is that it raises all these issues simultaneously.”

Another recognized scholar of New Testament studies writes, “While many traditional Christians might be tempted to scoff at and discmiss such books as either mere fiction or the opinions of a few fringe scholars, this would be a serious mistake. We are facing a serious revolution regarding some of the long-held truths about Jesus, early Christianity and the Bible” (Ben Witherington, “The Gospel Code,” p.11).

More on this later.

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