Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


Is Dan Brown Good for the Jews?

posted by David Klinghoffer

The Da Vinci Code author is finally coming out on September 15 with his new title, expected to go to press with an initial run of 5 million copies. I can’t wait, and I’m entirely serious about that. He’s a fabulous storyteller. Yet a note of warning to my fellow Jews who dismissed Catholic complaints about the earlier book, with its theme of conspiracy theories. It’s about a massive coverup by the Catholic Church of evidence that Jesus sired offspring.

The new novel, The Lost Symbol, was previously titled The Solomon Key. Now according to Biblical tradition, Solomon held the key to interpreting the language of animals and plants — whatever exactly that means. (Interestingly, the Quran too picks up this enigmatic bit of midrash, or Biblical interpolation.)
The basis of the tradition is a verse in 1 Kings, customarily translated:

And [Solomon] spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

Somehow I don’t think Dan Brown wrote a novel about that.

It seems predictable that the story involves conspiracy theories — as does, indeed, Brown’s other novel that I’ve read, Angels & Demons, the movie version of which appears on May 15. This is his bread and butter.
The problem with it is that a culture primed to see conspiracies — and our culture really is primed, and this is far from the only evidence — is never a good thing for Jews. Why? Because in conspiracy culture Jews traditionally have figured as the spider at the center of the web. Nothing at all about this implicates Brown himself. Repeat 10 times. But the phenomenon is still worrisome. 
The culture he powerfully encourages — he waters its garden — is nothing to celebrate, whether for Christians or Jews.


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Leora

posted April 21, 2009 at 12:05 pm


What’s the problem? He’s a flakily fun writer, not a historian or a theologian, and everybody knows it. Fear-based religion isn’t really what we have to offer the world, is it?



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Harold

posted April 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm


This piece has been featured at THEWEEK.com as Best Opinion – we really enjoyed your take.



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Bill from Up on the Hill

posted April 22, 2009 at 12:41 am


It’s supposed to have a lot of information on Masonic History. I can’t wait to read it.



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Iris Alantiel

posted April 22, 2009 at 6:34 am


I’m a little disappointed – “The Solomon Key” was a better title. But also I stand by my opinion that the man plots a terrific story, but he can’t actually use the English language in an evocative way: his writing style’s not so great.



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Lisa Daniela

posted April 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm


Good point, David. The culture of conspiracy theories is watered like a garden, indeed. And conspiracy theories have delusional, paranoid threads.
Leora, not everyone who grew up a Christian or a Jew grew or believes in “fear based religion,” this is quite a prejudice, and I see after DVC more people are more vocal,and even venomous about religions they don’t understand.
But to quite a number of people Dan Brown’s theories are convincing. This is his strength as a story teller.Even to my dissapointment, some well educated people, who don’t wan appear to be gullible as those who believe in the theories of Dan Brown, say that there is something about as the figure close to Jesus on the Last Supper looks like a woman.No knowledge about art history, even though those things were explained by real art historians. Easy to find information. So,assumptions are easy to make, and difficult to erase.
I think some of the readers of Dan Brown books feel encouraged to vent their opinions, opinions which earlier would be considered bigoted, now are OK by many. (I am not talking about you Leora, it is just general observation). The problem is that even if people know that Dan Brown isn’t a theologian, historian, or art historian, many still believe the claims that he writes about true facts.Like a journalist don’t need to be doctors to write an article about medicine, just research on the subject is sufficient to expose something.
Yes, it would be not a problem if there were not so many people believing that the “facts” described by Dan Brown are facts indeed. Check out the statistics about this.
And in earlier days when people were believing that Jews conspire, (infamous protocols), some were saying what is the problem, this is just another version of old superstitions.And than after WW I, in Germany Jewish people needed to pay special tax, some kind of war reparation tax,as it was believed that the Jews were responsible for causing the war. Why this happened? Because the culture was primed for conspiracies already. And is some cultures many people still believe that Jews conspire.
Dan Brown just a fun writer? It would be not a problem indeed.But there is too much venom, in my opinion, which actually points to intolerance, and makes certain type of intolerance acceptable in the mainstream culture.



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Your Name

posted April 22, 2009 at 9:22 pm


There is some wisdom here: if Dan Brown can produce literature and film that depicts the catholic church as some kind of conspiracy ridden organization, irregardless of whether there is any truth in it (and speaking as a catholic, there is some truth in it, although not in the particular conspiracies Brown invents) and this is considered acceptable… what would stop someone from making literature or a film about any other group of people as some kind of group of evil conspirators?
If it’s acceptable to do that to the church, why would it be unacceptable to do the same to Jews, Roma, or any other group which has just as much of a tradition of being depicted as conspirators as has the church?
God Bless,



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Lets grow up

posted April 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm


please lets not ourselves get into all this, makes us seem like the world is against us, that leads to negative self fulfillment. The fact is this us Hebrews are witnessing changing times, that has been our role in history to witness and teach. We are seldom teaching others our ways outside the media, that leads to speculators and others feeling left out. We can not blame others for expressing themselves. Lastly we can not always support a government that lies to its people about almost everything.



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SOLOMON BEN YEHUDA

posted September 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm


the da vinci code is a book written on no evidence of fact(, what he has done is to throw more wood on the fire against the children of ISRAEL – A FACT THAT YESHUA WAS ALSO A JEW – A RABBI- FROM THE TRIBE OF YEHUDA(JUDAH) READ AND STUDY AND READ THROUGH SPIRITYUAL EYES NOT CARNAL, G-D GIVES US THE REVELATION TO UNDERSTAND TO THE DEPTH OF OUR SOULS THE WISDOM AND THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE HOLY SCRITURES, DAN BROWN SOWS RGE SEEDS OF ANTI- SEMITISM EVEN FURTHER INTO SOCIETY



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SOLOMON BEN YEHUDA

posted September 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm


YESHUA OF COURSE HAD NO WIFE AND FATHERED NO CHILDREN , TO KNOW ABOUT HIM , READ , READ LIKE YOU DO , SO YOUR EYES ARE TOO HOLY TO READ ABOUT YESHUA, HE WAS NOT EVIL AT ALL, HE WAS A JEW WHO DID GOOD FOR THE COMMON JEW DURING THAT TIME OVER 2000 YEARS AGO- DAN BROWN IS AN ANTI- SEMITE WHO CONTINUES TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE RIFT AMONG US THE JEWS AND THE CHRISTIANS, BY MAKING THE JEWISH PEOPLE THE SCAPE GOAT IN HIS BOOK THE DA VINCI CODE- AND OF COURSE THE SECULAR JEW AS WELL AS THE SECULAR CHRISTIAN WHO HARDL EVER READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE ARE EVEN MORE CONFUSED WITH THIS TYPE OF HYPE SUCH AS THE DA VINCI CODE– UTTER NON SENSE



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Mark

posted September 21, 2009 at 1:51 pm


I agree that the book is nothing but fiction, but I have one comment:
“YESHUA OF COURSE HAD NO WIFE AND FATHERED NO CHILDREN”
And he had no father, either, so how could he be “FROM THE TRIBE OF YEHUDA”?



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