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Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels And Demons' (merged)

Wolfshead

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

I've decided that over my Christmas break, as well as reading Nineteen Eighty Four I'm going to start studying different aspects of The Da Vinci Code. Well, by studying I mean to read the book, then look up the most interesting bits to see how they relate to reality. I might post some of my findings, if I actually ever get round to doing it...

Dr. Ransom said:
Brown even got small easy facts wrong! A simple google search will show any who are curious that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 (I knew that BEFORE reading the book!) and yet good old Teabing claims they were discovered in the '50s... what the heck?
I never noticed that at the time, although I should have done. Quite a minor slip, though, but you would expect something that's supposed to be so well researched to have that right!

Walter said:
Recently I got the book Der Gral (transl: The Grail) by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln, and which evidently is a sequel to their 1981 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Both books claim to portray facts, but many of the facts are - of course - disputed.
joxy said:
Who - or what - is Teabing - or teabing?
Here's an interesting fact I'll bet no one knew - the name Leigh Teabing is actually a tribute to those two writers on the Holy Grail. The Richard Leigh reference is obvious, but as for Michael Baigent, re-arrange his surname and you get Teabing. Clever, eh?

I'm not going to comment on other historical issues at the moment, as whilst I am studying the early church, I'm not really knowledgeable enough yet to present credible arguments on the subject. I'll leave that till I've done my research :rolleyes: Plus, I've got an 1800 word essay to write on Celtic warfare for tomorrow...
 

Helcaraxë

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

I read it a little while ago. I liked most of it, but I thought the end was completely anticlimatic.
 

Elbereth

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

I'm reading the Da Vinci Code now....I'm about halfway through the book and so far I am really liking it. It is intellegently written and I appreciate that in a book. I love all of the historical and religious references, since those two things are some of my favorite topics to discuss. And With prior experience working in the art world, I can really appreciate the references to art within the novel, which have made me look at those pieces in a new light.

I am planning on reading Angels and Demons afterward. A friend of mine insisted I read the book as well and let me borrow it. So I will keep you posted for further reviews.
 

Wolfshead

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Last night on Channel 4 here in the UK there was a 2 hour documentary on presented by historian/tv presenter/actor, Tony Robinson where he set about finding the truth behind the Grail legend and The Da Vinci Code, aptly titled The Real Da Vinci Code. The long and short of it is that The Da Vinci Code’s full of **** :)

Priory Of Sion – made up in the 60’s by 3 French guys because one of them believed he was the rightful king of France. There are documents stating their confessions after the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail took things one step further and said he would also be the descendant of Jesus. Plantard didn’t want anything to do with that.

Knights Templar – absoloutely no evidence whatsoever anywhere that they had any sort of secret disovered below a Muslim temple in Jerusalem. They were destroyed not for being heretical, but for being fabulously wealthy.

Cathars – again, no evidence connecting them with the Grail at all. Indeed, Brown would have us believe they were protecting the secret of Jesus’ bloodline, when apparantly they frowned upon that kind of activity.

Mary Magdalene – No evidence suggesting her and Jesus were married. There’s talk of a child called Sarah (Hebrew for princess) arriving in France with Mary. But it seems they were two different Mary’s and the Sarah in question is a slave girl from Egypt.

Roslyn Chapel – One of only 2 dodgy areas left, but basically (I can’t remember the proof), it’s unlikely there’s anything there. Tony Robinson asked if he could dig,but they said no.

The woman in the Last Supper – Supposedly Mary Magdelane, and if you look at it it’s clearly a woman, although some people disagree and say it’s St John. Apparently, Leonardo was gay and often drew very effeminate looking men. Restoration might have helped it to look like a woman as well.

But the thing that clinched it for me was the interviews with Michael Baigent. When told there wan’t actually any proof of his theories he evaded it like Michael Howard dodging a question from Jeremy Paxman. Instead he speaks of “logical conclusions” and “leaps of faith”. Basically, they whole idea of The Da Vinci Code doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

I haven’t gone into much depth here, but there’s more on the Channel 4 website - http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/W/weirdworlds/da_vinci_code/index.html

Tony’s saved me a lot of hard work it would seem :D
 

Arvedui

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Having read (almost...) through The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, there are a couple of things that have struck me in relation to the works of prof. JRR Tolkien.

One is the though of the Royal Bloodline, that is protected throughout centuries. Especially in relation to the worship of the Magdalene.
Compare this to Tolkien's emphasis on Lúthien and what is written that never shall her line fail.

The other is the Essene thought concerning the parting of the spirit and the flesh at the time of death, and that the body is in fact hindering the spirit from fullfilling its purpose.
Compare that to the Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth and other discussions concerning the fate of Men.

And if one is very positive towards the theories aired in Holy Blood, Holy Grail one could imagine that the emphasis on crystal balls, could be compared to the Silmarils. But even in my mind, that is a looooong shot. ;)
 

Greenwood

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Whenever I see something labeled as "historical fiction" I take it to mean that some of the characters have names that are the same as people who actually lived. All other similarity to actual fact has to be taken with a truckful of salt.

I read The DaVinci Code and enjoyed it as a moderately well done mystery novel. I figured out some of the puzzles along the way and much of the ending, but that is part of the fun of reading mysteries for me. As for all the controversy over the ideas in it, my reaction is: "Its fiction."

My wife really enjoyed the book, particularly since not long before she had been playing around with tracing family geneology on the Internet and found that she is alledgedly descended from one of the historic personages mentioned in The DaVinci Code as being in Jesus' bloodline. So far I have resisted all requests to kneel before her. :D
 

Walter

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Arvedui said:
Having read (almost...) through The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, there are a couple of things that have struck me in relation to the works of prof. JRR Tolkien.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the successor of this book has caused me to read a little further on some of the issues raised, especially the development of early Christianity.

If you're interested too, I would like to recommend the following books:

Elaine Pagels The Gnostic Gospels
Marvin Meyer The Gospels of Mary
Robert Eisenman James, the Brother of Jesus
Robert Eisenman & Michael Wise Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered

Standard References:
James M. Robinson The Nag Hammadi Library
Geza Vermes The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, plus
One of the Bible Study Tools from e.g. BibleWorks or OliveTree.

---
Another book (in the same vein) I tremendously enjoyed and which had me burst out laughing ever so often was Christopher Moore's Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff...
 

Arvedui

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Thanks, Walter.
I'll put those books on my 'to do'-list.

I am looking forward to having the time to study them. :rolleyes:
 

Elbereth

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

I will also put all of these books on my list to read....but my gosh Walter...how do you ever have time to read all of those books? It took me a month to read the DiVinci Code (thank goodness for my half hour commute on the train) ....and I'm only half way through Angels and Demons and I started reading that three weeks ago.


Walter said:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the successor of this book has caused me to read a little further on some of the issues raised, especially the development of early Christianity.

If you're interested too, I would like to recommend the following books:

Elaine Pagels The Gnostic Gospels
Marvin Meyer The Gospels of Mary
Robert Eisenman James, the Brother of Jesus
Robert Eisenman & Michael Wise Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered

Standard References:
James M. Robinson The Nag Hammadi Library
Geza Vermes The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, plus
One of the Bible Study Tools from e.g. BibleWorks or OliveTree.

---
Another book (in the same vein) I tremendously enjoyed and which had me burst out laughing ever so often was Christopher Moore's Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff...
 

Lhunithiliel

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Elbereth said:
I will also put all of these books on my list to read....but my gosh Walter...how do you ever have time to read all of those books? It took me a month to read the DiVinci Code (thank goodness for my half hour commute on the train) ....and I'm only half way through Angels and Demons and I started reading that three weeks ago.
You'll never catch up with him, Elbereth! Don't even try to! ;) :D
 

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Greenwood said:
As for all the controversy over the ideas in it, my reaction is: "Its fiction."
That would be the average persons reaction to most things like that. But what helps throw people (as well as how so many people would love it to be true) is Brown's insistence at every opportunity he gets that it's all fact, and he hasn't made any of it up. Either he's being very clever, or he himself is believing the lie. To be honest, I'm not sure which!
 

Walter

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Occasionally I do take the time for such books, especially when they touch on this secret vice of mine: ancient myths and everything related... :)

I just got another book which looks promising and which might suit those who are interested in the matter and do not want to delve too deep: Dan Burstein Secret of the Code....
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Wolfshead said:
That would be the average persons reaction to most things like that. But what helps throw people (as well as how so many people would love it to be true) is Brown's insistence at every opportunity he gets that it's all fact, and he hasn't made any of it up. Either he's being very clever, or he himself is believing the lie. To be honest, I'm not sure which!
If he has to insist, then you have reason to be suspicious.

Barley
 

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Walter said:
I just got another book which looks promising and which might suit those who are interested in the matter and do not want to delve too deep: Dan Burstein Secret of the Code....
Meanwhile having read most of the book, and Das Sakrileg und die Heiligen Frauen (transl. "The Da Vinci Code and the Holy Women") by Walter-Jörg Langbein I have to say I am somewhat disappointed by both of them, though Burstein's book is IMO somewhat closer to the point insofar as he relies at least in part on serious scholars (the one major exception are the contributions of the "mythology experts" T. Freke and P.Gandy which are IMHO quite debateable and by and large not congruent with those of other scholars in the mythological area).

But IMO neither Burstein's nor Langbein's book provides the reader with a good account of the "Holy Women" or presents the biblical myths - even those of the 1st and 2nd century CE - really "in context" (like e.g. Joseph Campbell, James Frazer, Robert Graves or Robert Oden do).

---

But what somewhat amazes me is the adoo about Dan Brown's books in general. When, for example, even the Vatican bothers to condemn The Da Vinci Code and high representatives like Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone urge Catholics to shun the book ( [1], [2], [3]). Makes one wonder if some people are capable of learning from prior mistakes at all...
 

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Wolfshead said:
That would be the average persons reaction to most things like that. But what helps throw people (as well as how so many people would love it to be true) is Brown's insistence at every opportunity he gets that it's all fact, and he hasn't made any of it up. Either he's being very clever, or he himself is believing the lie. To be honest, I'm not sure which!
I didn't quite get this impression from this interview. IMO Baigent et al. in Holy Blood, Holy Grail are more insisting regarding their claim for providing factual information than Dan Brown is...
 

Wolfshead

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Walter said:
I didn't quite get this impression from this interview. IMO Baigent et al. in Holy Blood, Holy Grail are more insisting regarding their claim for providing factual information than Dan Brown is...
You're right, he doesn't sound too insistent in that interview, but I've seen him on tv interviews insisting more vehemently. But see what he has to say on the Priory of Sion

If you read the "FACT" page, you will see it clearly states that the documents, rituals, organization, artwork, and architecture in the novel all exist.
Many scholars believe his [Leonardo's] work intentionally provides clues to a powerful secret…a secret that remains protected to this day by a clandestine brotherhood of which Da Vinci was a member.
He's implying a secret society that doesn't exist does. The people that thought the whole thing up have admitted that and it was only through the work of Baigent et al that the idea still exists.

And you should have seen the interview with Baigent (or Leigh, I forget which) on that Channel 4 documentary, the guy was insisting his story was true even when presented with contradictory evidence and it was obvious he didn't have a leg to stand on! :D
 

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

Having read through Holy Blood, Holy Grail a couple of times, I find the most striking thing to be a so-called "chain of evidence" that is no more that a bunch of self-invented ideas, and therefore having more holes than a swiss cheese.
 

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Ian McKellen in "Da Vinci Code"

From The Advocate:

April 21, 2005

Sir Ian McKellen joins cast of The Da Vinci Code

Ian McKellen has joined Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in the upcoming screen adaptation of the international best seller The Da Vinci Code, reports Variety. The out actor will play Sir Teabing, a wealthy man who helps Hanks's character in his search for the Holy Grail. Also joining the cast is Alfred Molina, star of Prick Up Your Ears and the recent Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Director Ron Howard will begin shooting in June; the film is expected to open May 19, 2006.
 

Arthur_Vandelay

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Re: Dan Brown - 'The Da Vinci Code' & 'Angels And Demons'

From Scotsman.com:

Ancient Manuscript Discovery has 'Da Vinci Code' Touch

By Gemma Collins and Vicky Shaw PA

An ancient document likened to something which could have been featured in best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code was being analysed at a top auction house for its significance today.

The manuscript, believed to date from the 17th century, contains biographical details of every person in the Bible.

It was unearthed in the depths of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth where it had been kept in storage for Llandovery College, an independent school near the Brecon Beacons. It was among about half of the school’s archive of books which were taken to the library around 50 years ago.

When college warden Peter Hogan asked to see the books recently he was told of the existence of the manuscript, and it was delivered to his office on Wednesday.

It was apparently written by a man called William Spenser, who was not a cleric, Mr Hogan said.

“What he claims he has written is a complete genealogy of Jesus Christ,” said Mr Hogan.

“It is painstakingly researched. It is just a phenomenal piece of literature.”

The first half of the book is concerned with genealogy and features the family trees of people in the Bible. The second half is a “Who’s Who“, with every individual listed along with biographical details.

Mr Hogan compared the book with something which could have been part of the plot of the best-selling mystery novel by Dan Brown, which has seen tourism flourish at the historical sites it mentions.

Claims in The Da Vinci Code that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and has descendants have outraged may Christians. They have also been dismissed by historians and theologians.

Mr Hogan said: “With The Da Vinci Code hot at the moment I very quickly flicked to the ’M’ section.

“This section claims that Jesus rid Mary Magdalene of seven demons and as a consequence she then became an assistant of his.

“Then there is a whole section crossed out which is quite mysterious.”

Mr Hogan said the margins of the manuscript contained anecdotal information about Mary Magdalene, none of which he could find in the Bible.

He took the document to Christie’s in London in an attempt to establish whether it is a hoax and what its significance could be.

The manuscript, which has around 594 handwritten pages, was purchased for £13 about 170 years ago by the founder of Llandovery College, surgeon Thomas Phillips.

“I’m slightly nervous thinking about what it is worth,” said Mr Hogan.

“I would imagine it will have a very, very high commercial value. The difficult decision I have got to take is whether I am willing to exploit that.”
Coming up this Sunday May 1 2005 on ABC Radio National's "The Spirit of Things":
A runaway bestseller on the fiction lists, Dan Brown's novel about the Holy Grail has people wondering if it's true. Macquarie University's scholars of early Christianity - Chris Forbes, Malcolm Choat and Alan Dearne - pick out the fact from the fiction, and University of Sydney's Carole Cusack provides the medieval and feminist background to The Da Vinci Code.

Radio National also recently featured an interview with Dr Malcolm Choat, a specialist in Early Christianity at Macquarie University, on the same topic.
 

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Re: Ian McKellen in "Da Vinci Code"

Sounds like a great cast. I can't wait to see how these people do in the movie.
 

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