Da Vinci's Secret Agenda

The novel's claim: If we find secret documents that reflect the roots of Christianity, they will show Jesus was simply human.

Since The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was published a year ago, more than 6 million copies have been sold, turning the novel into a word-of-mouth bestseller. As the months wore on, and the book got bigger and bigger, evangelical Protestants and some Catholics became increasingly concerned about it. The Da Vinci Code, they say, presents as truth some theories--chief among them that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene--that are considered fringe, even by liberal Bible scholars. Evangelicals began to see a "secret agenda" in the novel: to undercut Christianity. Now that director Ron Howard is making a movie based on the book, conservative Christians are even more worried.

Last fall, evangelical and Catholic publishers approached writers to produce books rebutting the theology of this puzzling novel. Among the first was Darrell Bock, a well-regarded Bible scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary who has now authored a new book, Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Beliefnet talked recently with Bock about his book. Meanwhile, there are at least 10 other new books debunking the Da Vinci theories. Included in this package are samples from several of them.

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The basic reason is that there is an attempt to--and I’m going to use this term on purpose--relegate Christianity to a level that is like other religions. There are a lot of things Christianity claims are unique about what Christians believe and what Christianity is about—particularly the focus on Jesus Christ and his uniqueness. And it’s those elements that tend to be relativized by this kind of material. We have a novel that’s claiming that the divine Jesus was originally a human Jesus. That’s the major re-visioning that’s going on.

So to clarify: you’re saying that Christianity is unique because Jesus makes specific claims about his divinity?

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