The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction

by BJ Rudge, Ph. D.

Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code, is not only a page turning conspiracy novel and an action-packed movie, it is also a vicious attack upon historical Christianity. While the book is fictional in nature, Brown makes the following claim in the introduction, "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." Thus, as the reader encounters the numerous allegations that the characters in the book make against the historical Christian faith, he is left wondering what is fact and what is fiction. To help shed some light on this issue, let us examine two key allegations made in the book and movie against historical Christianity to see if they are rooted in historical fact or in historical fiction.

Allegation # 1: Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a baby.

The Jesus bloodline theory is rooted in historical fiction. There is ABSOLUTELY NO historical evidence (biblical or extra-biblical) that supports the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. The only sources that people who hold to this theory can appeal to are the Gnostic gospels. However, beyond the fact that these gospels are not trustworthy documents on the life of Jesus as they were written over a hundred years after the events of His life, they nowhere claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. In addition, the Bible nowhere indicates that Jesus was married. This is important to keep in mind because there are several places in the Bible that if Jesus were married one would expect the authors to make reference to this marriage. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 9:5 Paul defends his right to have a wife (which he never acted upon), "Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?" Now if Jesus were married, then certainly Paul would have cited Jesus as his example rather than the apostles. What greater appeal could Paul have made to validate his right to marry than the fact that Jesus was married? However, Paul makes no mention of Jesus being married, and as historian Paul Maier notes, "First Corinthians 9:5 is the graveyard of the married-Jesus fiction."

Allegation # 2: The canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are historically unreliable accounts on the life of Jesus.

There are numerous reasons that we could appeal to in establishing the reliability of the canonical Gospels. The following are three of these reasons. First, the canonical Gospels are grounded in eyewitness testimony (Luke 1:1-4; John 19:35). Second, the Gospels were written too close to the actual events surrounding the life of Jesus to be legend. The fact that the Gospels were in existence during the lifetime of both hostile and non-hostile eyewitnesses would have prevented any fabrications or falsifications on the part of the Gospel writers. Finally, external evidence, such as archeology, has verified the accuracy of the New Testament Gospels. For example, many scholars questioned whether Pontius Pilate was a historical person. Two Italian archeologists answered this question when they unearthed an inscription in Latin at the port city of Caesarea which stated, "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberium to the Caesareans."

The above is just a glimpse at two of the false allegations made in The Da Vinci Code. An honest examination of the other allegations made about historical Christianity will clearly reveal that the conspiracy to hide the truth does not lie with the Christian Church, but with Dan Brown's pen.

For further study on this topic please refer to the following sources:

Exploring the Da Vinci Code, Lee Strobel and Garry Poole

The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction, Hank Hanegraaff and Paul L. Maier

The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code, Richard Abanes

A Quest for Answers: The Da Vinci Code, Josh McDowell