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Fact and Fiction
by Jack Wellman
2007-01-01 10:31:38
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When a longtime friend asked me what I thought about the controversial book and movie, The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, I was prepared with a response. I started looking at columnist’s reviews about it in light of what is known about Jesus in historical documents and Biblical manuscripts.

Both the movie and the book question the divinity of Jesus and suggest that He was married and had a child with Mary Magdalene. Even though my friend had neither seen the movie (or DVD) nor read the book, he seemed to know several things. The Holy Grail, the Last Supper painting and Jesus’ alleged marriage to Mary Magdalene and subsequent children. If Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” has Mary Magdalene leaning on Jesus bosom, then where is the ”beloved disciple” John? He was the one that was leaning on Jesus’ bosom at the Passover meal (Jhn. 13:23). Why would Jesus not invite the disciple he repeatedly said He loved (Jhn. 13:23, 19:26, 20:2)? Why would Da Vinci leave the beloved disciple out of the painting?

When examining Biblical evidence from archaeological finds and the Dead Sea Scrolls, there are over 24,000 manuscripts or pieces of manuscripts. Those of the New Testament date from as early as the 1st and 2nd century (55AD - 160AD). The grand total of all Old and New Testament manuscripts is a staggering 5,650, written in Hebrew and Greek, and all with striking similarities (even with different authors). They testify of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Not one of these manuscripts mentions a marriage to any woman or that He fathered a child.

When contrasted to only 5 remaining manuscripts from Homer and Aristotle and only 10 of Caesar Claudius‘, who reigned less than ten years after Jesus death, it would seem far more reasonable to challenge the legitimacy of these individuals since they have far less historical evidence and support. How can we be sure they even existed? Additionally there are hundreds and thousands of eyewitnesses in the New Testament manuscripts about Jesus and hundreds that saw Him after the resurrection (I Cor. 15:3-8, Jhn. 7:27, Acts 1:3,4/9:3,17, Luke 24: 15-48, I Jhn. 1:1-3,14, II Pet. 1:16-21).

On page 234 of Brown’s book, the Da Vinci Code, he states that Constantine wanted to destroy the Dead Sea Scrolls, later found in the 1950’s to suppress the real truth about Jesus. The facts are that these scrolls were found in the mid 1940’s and that they were the Old Testament scrolls, none of which even mention the name of Jesus. It should be noted that Brown is a scholar. He quotes the Gnostic Gospels of Judas, Phillip and Mary Magdalene, written from the third to the fifth centuries AD, which would make these authors around 300 years old had they written them themselves.

Obviously they were not written by the original authors like many of the Old and New Testament Manuscripts were. Gnosticism teaches that knowledge, exclusive to a chosen few, is the only true way to salvation. The New Testament Gospels systemically teach that Jesus is the One and only way to salvation. These Gnostic gospels, manuscripts and all, were never canonized and were universally rejected by the church as obvious fakes and forgeries. The author erroneously mentions there are 80 of these manuscripts even though less than 50 are known of.

Brown claims that the Priory of Sion was formed around AD 1100 when in fact it was not founded until 1956 and for a far different purpose. Turning to page 247, Brown says there are “...countless references [about] Jesus and Magdalene’s union“, while in fact they are mentioned only twice as being together in the New Testament. The Bible itself is the most well documented (manuscripts), supported (archeologically) preserved (over 5,000 manuscripts) compilation of historical records and events ever assembled in human history.

They were written closest to the actual events themselves. All documents and manuscripts in all of human history, combined, do not come close in supporting historical facts that those of the Bible. That is why it is troubling to have a novel, which is by definition fiction, state on page one, “FACT” and fallow that with a long list of factual errors. I did discover three facts that were true in the book: Paris is in France, London is in England and Rome is in Italy.

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