On The Da Vinci Code

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I thought I'd offer a few assists for those battling the literalist reading of The Da Vinci Code (Heaven help us if these people start to read everything is so literal a fashion--I'd hate to see what a nation of literalist O'Connor readers migth do to us all. "Wouldn'a been a bad person if there'da been somebody there to shoot him every minute of his life."

Start with this image of The Last Supper. If the person next to Christ is actually female, what are we to make of the second figure from the left and the fourth and fifth figures from the right. (That fifth one looks as though he has breasts.) Our conclusion should not be that Da Vinci inserted a woman into the last supper, but rather than Da Vinci tended to paint very effeminate men.

That supposed disembodied hand holding the knife--look at it. It is obviously being held by the man comforting (not making a chopping motion) the supposed "Mary Madgalene" figure. I think this man is supposed to be Peter.

Absurdities uncollected elsewhere--one of the rhymes near the end of the book requires a eulogy from a pope in England. One of the near idiot intelligence characters from the book points out that "It didn't say the Pope had to be Catholic" (I paraphrase). Well, they are referring to Alexander Pope's eulogy over Sir Isaac Newton, and for anyone interested, that Pope most certainly is Catholic.

Ms. Meisel has done a far more thorough approach to hacking this apart. But I thought I'd add these couple of points.

When I read the book I was astounded at the sheer plodding nature of these supposedly brilliant minds. These people were so slow on the uptake I wanted to knock them upside the head to get them moving.

The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction. No more and no less real that Stephen King's Castle Rock or Michael Crichton's island of dinosaurs. Because a few cranks in the past have held odd notions about Jesus and religion makes them no more valid than if I were to declare the obvious truths of Stephen King's Cujo. The history of religion is the history of odd notions that are suppressed or die out on their own. Many of them were mutually contradictory. If we were to credit each of these with the validity granted The Da Vinci Code, we would have no time to get on with our lives. These notions are being grasped by the same faction of the Catholic Church that wants desperately to see the ordination of women; by people who do not realize that women do not need empowerment--they have enough of that themselves--but women need the courage to live what God has already given them. As with all people the goal is not to seek to be other than what we are, but to seek to be true to God's vision of us.

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Regarding the whole debate about Da Vinci's intention: what difference would it make even if it was Mary Madgalene? Last time I checked Da Vinci was neither an eyewitness to the Last Supper nor did he have an apparation of it.

Dear T.S.,

A most excellent point and correlative to my point about The Code. This picture is a fiction--an imaginative reproduction. Done properly everyone should be reclining at table a la Greco-Roman fashion. We have a very Medici table with very Medici plates, knives and goblets--we have a more or less pious fiction that may help stir some reflection, but shouldn't be taken as gospel anyway.



One difference is that we don't see Stephen King at the beginning of his book claiming that the underlying facts of what he is saying is all true.

We also had reviewers saying things like "his research is impeccable."

Apologetics organizations are getting calls about this book by people who are seriously questioning their faith after reading it. Obviously these people are poorly catechized in the faith but this book has sadly confused these people.

Dear Jeff,

I have rather strong opinions about the nature and genesis of the shortcomings that lead to this kind of thing, but charity forbids saying further. I've already inadvertantly offended at least one St. Blogger--I'm getting good at that. But suffice to say, you raise some very interesting points worthy of much investigation and expansion.



Concerning that there lovely Last Supper by Da Vinci, have you seen Steinberg's Leonardo's Incessant Last Supper? Such a meticulous reading of the work can help with Da Vinci Code refutations. Ah, it's a brave new world aborning: I can see it now, a whole spate of polemics and counter-polemics in this New Age Reformation, each one with a train of reviewers and TV specials - makes one long for the tranquil sixteenth century.

In case you're wondering, I hope you don't think *I* took offense at your comments on my post on this subject! (Okay, now I'm offended at the thought that you thought I took offense... oh, never mind). My only point is that for every gifted person among us (spiritually and intellectually, that is) there are ten sheep who cannot see through the lies.

Yes, the fictional aspect of the book is obvious to us. Conversely, many comments and articles I've read, people I've spoken to, and even a cursory internet seach make it clear that it is NOT obvious to far too many people. And when you have Dan Brown going on TV and "defending" the accuracy of the "truths" in his book - he clearly doesn't consider it to be fiction, or at least he plays it that way to the media - well, the sheep will follow.

I've spoken with and/or heard stories of people who say that they've "come to Christ" through The daVinci Code. I'm not sure what or who they found, but it's not the real, living and eternal Christ that we know and love.

Dear Barrister

I must put a cautionary note on your post:

I've spoken with and/or heard stories of people who say that they've "come to Christ" through The daVinci Code. I'm not sure what or who they found, but it's not the real, living and eternal Christ that we know and love.

Yet. But if the Holy Spirit has moved them into the realm of considering Christ, if they are faithful to the movement, and we can pray that they are, they will eventually come to know Christ. I say this because I was one of those for a while who disagreed with nearly everything the Church had to say about any subject on one ground or another. But the association with the Church and with the good people within it did eventually lead me to the truth. So, if they have found Christ, let us pray that they are truly experiencing an awakening by the Holy Spirit. They may not know Christ fully yet, but at least they are beginning to come to terms with the necessity of Christ and proper nurturing can bring to life a full-fledged Christian.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 5, 2003 11:16 AM.

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