We are nearing the end of our examination of the biblically relevant claims of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, soon to be a major motion picture (here’s the trailer), The Da Vinci Code. We have thus far seen that Brown’s “fiction based upon fact” presentation is purely fiction, even when it pretends to present facts. The number of simple, gross errors paraded before the reader thus far regarding Jesus, Constantine, the Bible, etc., has destroyed every bit of possible credibility Brown might claim for himself and his “research.” We have entered into the final portions of this presentation, which, since they are based upon all the falsehoods that have come before, only grow the more fantastic and outrageous. Teabing, Langdon, and the ever innocent Sophie, are still in Teabing’s home, and Teabing and Langdon are busy informing her about the Grail legend. We read,
“According to the Priory,” Teabing continued, “Mary Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion. For the safety of Christ’s unborn child, she had no choice but to flee the Holy Land. With the help of Jesus’ trusted uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene secretly traveled to France, then known as Gaul. There she found safe refuge in the Jewish community. It was here in France that she gave birth to a daughter. Her name was Sarah.”
Sophie glanced up. “They actually know the child’s name?”
“Far more than that. Magdalene’s and Sarah’s lives were scrutinously chronicled by their Jewish protectors. Remember that Magdalene’s child belonged to the lineage of Jewish kings—David and Solomon. For this reason, the Jews in France considered Magdalene sacred royalty and revered her as the progenitor of the royal line of kings. Countless scholars of that era chronicled Mary Magdalene’s days in France, including the birth of Sarah and the subsequent family tree.” (255)
Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus’ uncle? Really? Let’s think about that a moment. Assuming the term “father” can be properly used of Joseph, husband of Mary, at least positionally (Mary used the term in that way), then you would have Joseph the brother of…Joseph. Yes, I’m sure it was quite common to name siblings with the same name!. “This is my brother Darrell, and my other brother, Darrell.” Right.
Now, does it strike anyone else as odd (outside of the utter a-historicity of all of this) that Mary Magdalene would be welcomed with open arms by a Jewish community in far-away Gaul, if she had to flee the Jews in Jerusalem? If the Jews in Gaul looked upon her as royalty (as if they looked upon anyone with a similar lineage in that fashion!) why didn’t the Jews in Jerusalem? Did the Jews in Gaul have no communication whatsoever with Jerusalem? Once again, we are not told. Pure supposition without the weight of actually having to substantiate anything.
As to the lives of Mary Magdalene and her alleged daughter, Sarah, being “scrutinously” chronicled, once again, we are left with nothing but conspiracy theories here as well. Where is the evidence? Oh, that’s the whole point. Though we can’t produce these “Sangreal Documents” (that’s what the whole story is about), somehow we know what is in them! But you can’t question what is in them or…you’ll ruin the story! In fact, even Brown seems to realize his web of unfounded theories is getting pretty messy, for he once again has to inject the reader with a dose of “history really isn’t what it is cracked up to be” skepticism:
Sophie was startled. “There exists a family tree of Jesus Christ?”
“Indeed. And it is purportedly one of the cornerstones of the Sangreal documents. A complete genealogy of the early descendants of Christ.”
“But what good is a documented genealogy of Christ’s bloodline?” Sophie asked. “It’s not proof. Historians could not possibly confirm its authenticity.”
Teabing chuckled. “No more so than they can confirm the authenticity of the Bible.”
“Meaning that history is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books—books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?’ ” He smiled. “By its very nature, history is always a one-sided account.”
Sophie had never thought of it that way. (255-256)
Poor silly Sophie! Always the wide-eyed innocent. Note first the incredible attack upon the nature of the Bible once again. Having ravaged all truth already, Brown now parallels the Bible with fictitious documents carried around in four trunks with a sarcophagus. A collection of works written by more than forty authors over 1500 years, examined minutely by generation after generation, found to repeatedly (and accurately) comport with historical finds (did you read about the Pool of Bethsaida being found recently?), rooted in history itself, paralleled epistemologically with pure fiction. That is what is headed for the movie screens of America in May of this year. It should further be noted that only a portion of the Bible’s nature can be examined historically: you cannot confirm spiritual truths by reference to external history. You can only confirm that the events of Scripture took place in the historical contexts claimed.
The rest of Brown’s dialogue is little more than “Yes, I know I’m spinning a complete yarn, but I want you to follow me a while longer, so I will take another shot at history to keep you with me.” History is not, in fact, all one sided. Those vanquished often leave a great deal of historical evidence in their wake, for history is not only written documents. This utterly naive view of historical study is necessary for those profiting from conspiracy theories, but is untenable for those who are interested in the truth.