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The Truth About Da Vinci Weblog

This blog is the outgrowth of the www.TheTruthAboutDaVinci.com Web site. Many people have asked questions or raised points of discussion on Dan Brown's book and its recent movie release. Therefore, this blog was created to take the discussion farther - to capture certain thoughts and answer some of the questions we've received at the site.

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July 2006 Blog Summary

Monday, July 17, 2006

When my friends and I talk...

When my friends and I talk about the movies we've seen or books we've read, we tend to do so by explaining what the movie or book was "about." That is, what themes emerged, or what the director/author seemed to be driving at.I recently read an article by Vishal Mangalwadi, with the fascinating title, "The Da Vinci Code: Sacred Sex and the Betrayal of Feminism." In this article, he contends that Sexual Mysticism is the dominant theme of Dan Brown's story.

He writes, "Sexual Mysticism is the proverbial elephant in the center of Dan Brown's novel but most readers miss seeing that elephant because they don't expect it in a novel about Jesus. Yet, The Da Vinci Code promotes salvation through sex more effectively than its predecessors because it is an iconoclastic novel."

From my reading of the novel, there seemed to be multiple "proverbial elephants," but Mangalwadi's article does a tremendous job touching on a theme I did not know enough about to even notice. I think I also missed this theme because the novel does not push it very overtly. In fact, there is only one explicitly sexual scene.So, what would lead one to conclude that The Da Vinci Code promotes salvation through sex"?

Mangalwadi quotes Brown's novel: "By communion with woman, man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God [within him]."[1] His article describes underlying beliefs that often accompany such a statement - Goddess Spirituality and Sexual Mysticism. According to Mangalwadi, Brown promotes these as alternatives to the Church, which (as assumed in the novel) represses women and sexuality. Mangalwadi interacts with Goddess Spirituality and Sexual Mysticism, and contrary to Brown's assertions, concludes that neither of these ultimately empowers women.

Though parts of this article are somewhat graphic, and it is long, I would encourage those of you who might be interested to check it out. What do you think? Does Mangalwadi have a point? Are these themes loud enough in the Da Vinci story to assert that they are part of Brown's agenda?

Here is the link: http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/tsunami.pdf

[1] Brown, Dan The Da Vinci Code Doubleday, New York, 2003, 308

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Today, the Louvre is one...

Today, the Louvre is one of the world's greatest art museums. Its history as a building makes it the perfect place for the intrigue of The Da Vinci Code, which begins with a murdered body in la Grande Gallerie of the Denon Wing, the best-known of the Louvre's three main sections. Dan Brown gives a fine description of the museum at night, including details such as the parquet floor, which "produced an ephemeral optical illusion - a multi-dimensional network that gave visitors the sense they were floating through the gallery on a surface that changed with every step." (p. 32)

The Louvre has a rich and meandering history. At first it was a fortress conceived by Philippe auguste (1180-1223). Charles V (1364-80) transformed the place into a residence, including a large library. Then kings from Francois 1er to Louis XIV added wings and galleries to the residency. Napoleon, though, expelled the lodgers, and built the Arc du Carousel in the courtyard, a place to review his troops. The Louvre purely as a museum began in 1793, with the ideal of bringing great art to every citizen.

The Louvre represents, for Dan Brown, the tension between the surface and the hidden symbols beneath the surface. Perhaps the most controversial symbol-laden object in the Louvre is the Pyramid, designed by I. M. Pei, and commissioned by Francois Mitterand. French people were divided about the pyramid from its inception. Bezu Fache, the policeman who pursues the heroes throughout the novel, represents one popular sentiment: "A scar on the face of Paris." But others believe it is the perfect way to blend a modern, geometric form, with the ancient backdrop of the Cour Napoleon. At any rate, the 666 panes of glass specifically requested by Mitterand, himself known as 'The Sphinx,' makes it an ideal symbol for the book's main thesis: Christianity overcame paganism by changing the meanings of pagan symbols into the powerful doctrines of Christendom. And finding Mary Magdalene's tomb underneath the inverted pyramid, at the end of the book, is the ideal way to suggest that, for those who know where to look, paganism, natural religion, and the true Jesus, married and with a family, could not be completely suppressed.

The French reaction to the Da Vinci Code parallels the American reaction. In the bookshop of the Louvre scores of pamphlets and DVDs devoted to scrutinizing the premise of the book resemble the cottage industry of materials in the United States. Most are critical. Some of them explain what really happened at Niceia, and why alternative gospels never made it into the canon. But the setting of the Louvre makes the issues all the more poignant. There is even a guided tour (using head-sets) through the museum's Da Vinci related artwork. Being in such a large museum does give one the feeling that history is right beneath the surface. It makes the story line somewhat more plausible than just reading about it in a novel. Perhaps this is why we love artwork. The good artist can make visible the invisible world. Too bad the story was not about the "mystery once hidden, now revealed" in the gospel! (Ephesians 3:9-10).

William Edgar


Historical Term
Nag Hammadi papyri, The - Collection of more than forty Gnostic documents, unearthed in the mid-1940s near Nag Hammadi in U...

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  : This website is a response to Sony Pictures movie "The Da Vinci Code"
  based on Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code