The Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine
Oxford University Press Inc
Bart D. Ehrman
This book is the most authoritative, arguably the definitive appraisal of some of the claims that are directly made or are embedded in the incredibly successful work of popular fiction by Dan Brown, "The Da Vinci Code"; it is not an essentially partisan Christian rebuttal of "The Da Vinci Code" (as are virtually all the books currently available) but a truly historical assessment by a noted early Christian scholar. Brown's novel is unusual in that the author makes the statement up front that the historical information in the book is all factually accurate, and many readers presumably have taken the author at his word. Some of these "facts" are surprising and provocative, such as that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that this union produced an offspring whose holy lineage has been preserved down to today, that Emperor Constantine suppressed secret Gospels that attest to these stories, etc. Ehrman discusses the historical truth behind these claims from a scholar's perspective. His focus is on the historical Jesus, the historical Mary, the development of the early Christian church, the writings of the early Christian Gospels, and the role played by Constantine in the formation of what has come down to us as the beliefs and scriptures of the Christian religion. Ehrman writes: "I should stress that I am not objecting to Dan Brown's inventing claims about early Christian documents as part of his fictional narrative; the problem is that he indicates that his accounting of early Christian documents is historically accurate, and readers who don't know the history of early Christianity will naturally take him at his word. But there is more fiction than fact, not just in the plot of "The Da Vinci Code", but also in its discussion of the early documentary record about Jesus."
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