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Dan Brown: A Theological/Historical Cliff Claven.

     I am not a Roman Catholic, nor do I agree with their Theology (in fact I'm agnostic, so I don't agree with any Theology), but nonetheless I have to clear up the misconceptions Dan "Cliff Claven" Brown puts forth. When something is a lie, it needs to be corrected. The bad guys of Brown's penny dreadful are a Roman Catholic organization called The Opus Dei, which is Latin for "the work of God". It is far from the sinister organization it is portrayed in Brown’s book, and the claims made against fly in the face of truth.

     We all have met at sometime in our lives a "know it all". Ironically, know it alls usually know little if anything. Dan Brown caused quite a stir with his pretentious book, The DaVinci Code. Most Non-Christian types can't understand why Christians get their underoos in a bunch (and rightly so) over this book soon to be a film. The reason is the book, although fiction is presented in such a way as though to be fact. Dan Brown, when asked on NBC's Today show if he would have changed anything if he were writing an historic novel said "No", and that that the book was "historically accurate".  But is it really? Did Brown really do "meticulous research" as he claims, or did he just a rehash old malarkey already disproved? Here's a quick look of a few things Brown got wrong(by no means a complete list):

3. According to the characters in Brown’s book (p. 233), the Bible “was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” Incredible as it seems, even long-term Christians are tripping over this false statement. While the final canon of the New Testament had yet to be closed by the early church, when the Council of Nicaea was convened in 325 A.D with Constantine’s support and encouragement, those books which we now include in the New Testament had already passed rigid scrutiny before being identified as the inspired word of God long before Constantine’s rule. Three criteria were applied to potential books:

          * To be accepted as canonical, a writing had to come from an apostle (direct witness to Jesus’ ministry) or an associate (Mark writing for Peter in the Gospel of Mark, and Luke, the physician who accompanied Paul on his journeys and recorded two histories of the early church in Luke and Acts);

          * The writing also had to have experienced widespread usage throughout the early church, when eyewitnesses could have declared the errors it contained; and

          * It had to conform to the rule of faith, meaning it could not contradict what the early church accepted as normative.
      Long before the Council of Nicaea, this scrutiny had arrived at an agreement of which books were canonical, and which ones contained falsehoods, inconsistencies or outright heresies. Constantine played no role in the process. For more information, please see Bruce Metzger’s book, The Canon of the New Testament.

*Yaweh being derived from Jehovah Brown Claims the Hebrew name for God, YHVH, is derived from Jehovah. Jehovah, Brown claims, is an androgynous representation of the masculine "Jah" and a pre-Hebraic name for Eve, "Havah". Completely wrong! Jehovah is derived from YHVH, not the other way around, and it isn’t derived from Jah and Haavh. YHVW was a name considered to be so sacred, the Jews did not even pronounce it except in the Temple. Scholars mistakenly thought they had the name translated right as "Jehovah", about 500 years ago...they were wrong.

* The Madonna on the Rocks somehow transmits anti-Christian "secrets". It was commissioned by nuns and depicts John the Baptist blessing Jesus The painting was commissioned by a confraternity, which is not a group of nuns, but men. The figure with her arm around Mary if Jesus, ad the figure kneeling is John the Baptist, not the other way around as Brown stipulates. There’s nothing secretive about the painting at all. The battle was not over what the details should be, but about money.

* The rings of the Olympics represent Aphrodite. The five ring symbol was not added until the 20th century, to show union between the countries. The games were originally held every 3 years to honor Zeus.

*The Adoration of the Magi was painted over by DaVinci to conceal yet another mysterious secret. Here Brown has hedged his bet. He claims there’s a secret, but since he contends it’s been covered up, he can’t prove it. It’s like saying the Statue of Liberty is built on top of the ruins of Atlantis. The Adoration of the Magi was commissioned for a monastery in Florence. But the Drawing is only as far as Leonardo got. There is indeed a top layer of paint covering the drawing,, as Brown says, and there was controversy over removing it...but for entirely different reasons that Brown implies. Art Watch International, a secular art preservation organization, protested the restoration of the painting because the painting is so fragile it would destroy it. No one is trying to conceal some great "secret".

* Davinci’s famous Mona Lisa is a picture of himself in drag, and the very name, Mona Lisa is an anagram for the Egyptian Pagan gods Amon and Isis.
First, the Mona Lisa is the painting of a real person, not Leonardo in drag. She was the wife an Italian noble, and her name was Monna Lisa (imagine that) del Gioncondo. She is not androgynous, nor is she meant to represent Isis and Amon.

      Second, it’s quite a stretch of the imagination to create "Amon" and "Isis" from "Mona Lisa". If you scramble the words around, you get "Amon" from "Mona" but "Amon" is also spelled "Amen" some times too. "Isis" from "Lisa" would mean you have to discard the "L" and the "a". Then you’d have to add another "I" and "s" created out of thin air! This kind of logic reminds of stories back in the 1970's that if you connect all the stars on the Proctor and Gamble products it makes "666" (it doesn't, by the way). It takes a real stretch of the imagination to buy it.

*Brown claims (p. 244) that the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is a matter of historical record. Whose record? Even ABC’s television special discovered no serious scholars who accept the idea that Jesus was married, and none said that there was any historical record to support such a claim. Those on the fringe who do believe it rely on one obscure reference in Scripture to a time when Jesus tells Mary to “stop clinging to Me.”

*The Last Supper gives clues that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and if you look at the picture, it forms the letter "M" for Mary. Brown contends the youth seated next to him is really Mary Magdalene, because the rest of the figures in the paintings have beards. The reason John does not have a beard is because he is portrayed as a beardless youth. Since he was Christ’s favorite disciple, Leonardo cast him in the traditional role of an apprentice seated next to his master.

       If Mary is pictured at the table and not John, then where is John, Christ most beloved disciple? Brown leaps to the conclusion that since no chalice is present, this means Mary Magdalene is really the "chalice". Brown is ignoring the scene the image is trying to portray. The scene dipicts the moment Christ announced someone would betray him, after the meal. We see the apostle’s discussing whom among the it is, just as in the Gospel. Leonardo is showing the apostles leaning away from Jesus talking amongst themselves. If you look at the picture, they don’t form an "M" for Mary Magdalene as Brown insists. Again, it’s a real stretch of the imagination to try and picture an "M". The way the apostles lean away from Christ makes him appear by himself, which represents how the Apostles abandoned him at the cross. This is the message Leonardo was really trying to transmit.

* Mithra, a Persian deity, was called Son of God and Light of the World.  Mithra was different things to different people. The Zoroastrians considered him merely an angel. By the time of the Roman Empire, Mithraism was a mystery cult that had mostly Roman soldiers for followers. There is no record of Mithra ever having been called "Light of the World" or the "Son of God", nor was he a god of death and resurrection!


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