Summary: Focuses on the truth about Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Video: Impact of The Da Vinci Code
Described by Christian Science Monitor as “equal parts thriller, mystery, and religious speculation,” The Da Vinci Code follows Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of religious symbology, and Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist for the French version of the FBI, as they investigate the mysterious murder of Sophie’s grandfather. The duo find themselves in the middle of the ancient quest for the Holy Grail and in league with a secret society known as the Priory of Sion—a group dedicated to the pagan practice of goddess worship.
Langdon and Neveu piece together an alternate version of history—one that says the Church covered up Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene and the birth of their daughter. According to the theory, Jesus wanted Mary to lead His church, but the Church and the apostle Peter launched a smear campaign and labeled Mary a prostitute, forcing her to flee with her child.
The fast-paced story also asserts that the divinity of Jesus was a political invention of Emperor Constantine and that the Canon of Scripture was merely established by men with dubious personal motives. In a nail-biting adventure, Langdon and Neveu follow clues that painter Leonardo Da Vinci, a former grand master of the Priory of Sion, has crafted into his works, creating the Da Vinci Code. As Langdon and Neveu are told, “Behold…the greatest cover-up in human history” (from Outreach magazine, “The Da Vinci Code Intrigue,” p. 48).
You might be thinking, “Why make such a big deal out of this? It’s just a fictional novel.” True, The Da Vinci Code is a fictional novel, but its author Dan Brown maintains that what he has written is real.
While being interviewed on NBC’s Today Show, Brown was asked, “How much of this is based on reality? He replied, “Absolutely all of it. Obviously, Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies—all of that is historical fact” (James L. Garlow & Peter Jones, Cracking Da Vinci’s Code, p. 24). The first page of the novel makes the same claim.
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CLAIM #1: Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
A. The Truth about Mary Magdalene
1. Seven demons were cast out of her by Jesus (Luke 8:2).
2. She followed Jesus and helped Him (Luke 8:1-3).
4. She was present at the burial of Jesus (Matthew 27:57-61).
6. She was the first person to see Jesus in His resurrected body (John 20:10-18).
In defense of The Da Vinci Code, some argue that taboos about a woman touching a man existed in those days, so this account implies that she and Jesus were married (“Do not hold on to me,” v. 17). But undoubtedly this was a spontaneous act of devotion. Later when the women left the tomb, He met them and we read, “And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him” (Matt. 28:9 NASB).
7. She was not a prostitute (as some have wrongly assumed).
One thing that Dan Brown does get right is that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. In A.D. 591, Pope Gregory the Great gave an Easter sermon in which he declared that the prostitute of Luke 7 was Mary Magdalene who is mentioned in Luke 8. But there really is no reason to make such a connection (Erwin Lutzer, The Da Vinci Deception, pp. 59-60). The same connection is made in The Passion of the Christ.
B. The Truth about the Gospel of Philip
And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” (the Gospel of Philip, as quoted in The Da Vinci Code, p. 246).
1. It was written much later than the NT Gospels.
“The Gnostic writings are not eyewitness accounts of the events of the New Testament. Even scholars who want to give these documents credibility say that the very earliest date is about A.D. 150, at least one hundred or, more likely, one hundred and fifty years after the time of Jesus’ crucifixion” (Lutzer, TDVD, p. 36).
“It is always more likely that those sources that come for eyewitnesses or those who were in contact with eyewitnesses will provide us with the best data about an ancient person than documents that were composed several centuries later, as were the Gnostic Gospels” (Ben Witherington III, The Gospel Code, p. 32).