Summary: The Da Vinci Code is one of the hotest novels on the market today, what should the church’s response be?
(I began this message with a clip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy discovers the Grail)
Let’s start by saying that the Da Vinci code focuses on a subject that many of us know little about and that is the Holy Grail, as a matter of fact the sum total of most of our knowledge comes from two movies, you just saw a clip from the first one, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Our other source for information concerning the Holy Grail is Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, which I watched numerous times as a teenager and a few times since then, thus qualifying me to speak as an expert on this topic. At least as much of an expert as author Dan Brown who wrote “The Da Vinci Code”
The difference being that my sources have never pretended to be anything but fiction. Brown’s main source of information concerning the Grail comes from a 1982 book entitled “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”. The authors of that book drew primarily on documents provided to them by a French citizen by the name of Pierre Plantard.
The problem here was that Plantard had created these documents in a rouse to prove that he was actually Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair a direct descendent of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Plantard had also farbricated documents that showed that he was the true King of France.
Plantard is also responsible for The Priory of Sion, which Dan Brown claims is one of the oldest secret societies in existence. In both Holy Blood, Holy Grail and the Da Vinci Code the Priory of Sion is said to have been established in 1099 when the Knights Templar discovered trunks full of documents buried beneath Solomon’s Temple which not only revealed the location of the Holy Grail but contained evidence that would totally discredit Christianity. You still with me?
The book tells us that Leonardo Da Vinci, which by the way is not his first and last name it is instead his name and his place of origin, Leonardo of Vinci, was actually the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. Brown maintains that other notable Grand Master’s through the years have been Isaac Newton, of apple fame and Victor Hugo the French author.
In Paris however you can discover the true origin of the Priory of Sion because on June 25 1956 official paperwork was filed establishing the Priory of Sion as a society to lobby the French Government for more affordable housing. The Person who filed the papers was none other then Pierre Plantard. The society folded in 1957 but Plantard held on to the name.
And I know that you are sitting there thinking: Get a life Denn it’s just a novel and a movie. True it is, and if it were simply presented as a novel then I would have no problem with it. So first let’s look at the story. 1) The Story Actually it’s not a bad story, as stories go. I quite enjoyed the book. In my personal opinion Dan Brown isn’t a great writer but he’s a pretty good story teller, and that’s not a slam, some of my favourite authors fit into that category.
The story begins in France where Robert Langdon the noted symbologist from Harvard University has been visiting as a guest lecturer. Now if you thinking I’ve never met a symbologist before that’s because there has never been one before Robert Langdon, but that’s simply artistic licence. Langdon is disturbed at his hotel room by the French Police who take him to the Louvre to assist in a murder investigation. It would appear that one of the curators of the museum, Jacques Sauniere has been brutally murdered. However before dying Sauniere is able to leave a variety of clues scattered around the gallery he has locked himself in as an unsuccessful bid to escape his killer.
Unbeknownst to our hero he is actually a suspect in the murder and only escapes with the help of the beautiful police cryptographer Sophie Neveu. Langdon discovers that the murdered Sauniere not only is Sophie’s estranged Grandfather but he is also the Grand Master of Priory of Sion, a secret society entrusted with a secret which if revealed would destroy the Christian church as we know it. Still with me?
Their quest for clues to break the Da Vinci Code leads them to Leigh Teabing, a former British Royal Historian, who is one of the foremost authorities on the Holy Grail. Their ensuing journey takes them through France, across the English Channel on an illicit flight, all the while staying one step ahead of the police, an albino killer monk name Silas and the “teacher” a mystery man who appears to be orchestrating the entire story. It’s during the trip that Langdon and Teabing are able to lecture Sophie about the fallacies of Christianity and the Bible as well as the evils of the church.