Did Da Vinci know all along?

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

D o clues in the artworks of a renowned master reveal the true history of Christianity?

That's the question posed by Dan Brown's acclaimed novel "The Da Vinci Code".

Published in 2003, this conspiratorial novel had believers and non-believers alike asking questions about the origins of the Church, untold accounts of Christ's life on Earth, and just who was that person sitting to the left of Jesus in Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting, "The Last Supper"?

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According to Brown, it's not the long believed figure of John the Beloved disciple.

After viewing a History Channel special on Brown's novel, I decided to seek out a copy for myself and found it at the Luverne Public Library. I was already aware of the back story and purported theory of the book, having read a copy of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln a number of years back.

That theory, as a believer of Christ's resurrection, came as quite a shock.

The supposed alternative history to Christianity is this (in a nutshell, and by no means in-depth): Before His crucifixion, Jesus married Mary Magdalene and sired a daughter. After His death, mother and daughter flee to southern France to avoid persecution and the legend of the Holy Grail begins to take root. In this version of history, the Holy Grail is not the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, but is represented by Mary - the mother of Christ's child. A true Royal Bloodline is established, one that can trace its ancestry to Jesus, Himself. Decades later, the Church meets to confirm the official books that will one day become the Holy Bible. Other books - the renamed Gnostic Gospels - will be expunged from history, possibly because so many references are made to Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene. Apparently, for the Church to hold true power over its followers, the divine nature of Jesus must be protected. Any references to Christ's humanity must be destroyed.

That's the theory. What Brown does is take that theory and manipulate it into a fictional yarn worthy of its acclaim.

I've never read a book, especially a sizable book like "The Da Vinci Code", in one sitting. Last Sunday, I read the entire novel in one afternoon.

Yes, it is that good. As literature, is it great? No. But for pure page-turning excitement, it was certainly the cleverest, most plot twisting, most entertaining read I have ever encountered.

Conspiracy theories always make for good fiction. Even good non-fiction. (Just look at the number of successful books devoted to the assassination of John F. Kennedy). And Brown has a way of making you believe that the Greatest Story Ever Told may just be the Greatest Fib Ever Told.

But the majority of Brown's claims are unfounded. Some are even outright lies, (but that's what fiction is, right?). The History Channel, in its special, did a good job in debunking many of Brown's concepts and ideas. There have also been a number of books written about the novel's misrepresentation of historical facts.

Even the aforementioned "Holy Blood, Holy Grail "was a speculative work, derived from the authors' own research and ideas.

In the end, "The Da Vinci Code" raises more questions than it answers. As Christians, we examine these questions, while around us atheists and non-believers attempt to use Brown's book and other so-called 'truths' as proof of Christ's final death on Golgotha.

What we're left with is what we've always had - faith.

The faith in our Creator and the faith in His Son.

Kevin Pearcey is editor of The Luverne Journal. He can be reached at

335-3541 or

via email at kevin.pearcey@ luvernejournal.com