I probably need to offer my apologies to Leonardo of Vinci as the heading might infer that he was somehow in cohoots with satan. It’s not likely that he sold his soul to the devil but there are questions that have arisen related to his painting “The Last Supper”. It is Dan Brown (The Davinci Code) and those of his ilk who are propagating the myths surrounding this 15th century painter-inventer-cum-laude.
It seems, at least from their perspective, that there are certain codes, if you will, embedded within the brush strokes and shadows of DaVinci’s masterpiece. In this and following articles, we will be discussing what those codes are and how we may be able to answer them both scripturally and scholarly. The following seem to be the primary sticking points of Mr. Brown’s so-called research:
–no one before the Emperor Constantine in the 300s believed in the deity of Jesus Christ
–Constantine was the first to suggest and enforce it in the fourth century
–Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children
–the ambiguous figure to Jesus’ right in DaVinci’s painting (leaning away from the Lord) is actually a representation of Mary and not John as it has more feminine features
–Jesus and John-slash-Mary form an “M” in the painting, providing a clue that corroborates what Brown feels is DaVinci’s subtle insistence that Mary is the Holy Grail
–there is no chalice on the table in the painting–why not? Isn’t this a supper after all?–thus another code breaks forth: the Holy Grail is Mary!
–After Jesus’ death, Mary and her child fled to Europe and the child carried on his father’s line through French royalty
–Jesus had appointed Mary as His successor but Peter became enraged at his being overlooked and fabricated stories about Mary being a prostitute so the church would not accept her
–the Council of Nicea (AD325) put together the Bible, ignoring as many as 80 other books which contained these facts
–the Catholic church has surreptitiously protected secret societies (Opus Dei, Priory of Sion) which guard these and other facts and, if the truth ever got out, would spell the end of Christianity as we know it
Brown says in his book, “almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” And, prior to the bishops meeting with Constantine in the city of Nicea (in modern Turkey) in AD325, “…until that moment in history Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet…a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless.”
I know what is shaping and driving Dan Brown’s testament. It is nothing more than the age-old resurrected Gnosticism. And Feminism. From the beginning, satan has been fueled by the intense longing to discredit the Person and Deity of Jesus Christ and has such propagated Goddess worship–anything to swing away from God Almighty! Jeremiah refers to the corrupt worship of the “Queen of Heaven” (7:18; 44:17), the Egyptians worshipped their female Isis, the Greeks had their Venus and the Romans had Juno. There was Diana of the Ephesians, Astarte of the Assyrians and the Sidonians’ Ashtoreth. Even the Catholic Church has elevated the Virgin Mary as the “Queen of God” and many worship her as such. And Dan Brown’s Mary Magdalene is the Holy Grail.
Brown has rejected the veracity of New Testament scripture and has instead opted for the outrageous contents of the Gnostic gospels (e.g., The Gospel of Judas, now on bestseller lists!). The Gnostics believed that the teachings of the NT were not to be taken at face value but the teachings were filled with symbols and hidden meanings (sound familiar?). They rejected the Incarnation of Christ and doctrinal orthodoxy as being too literal. Consequently, new ‘gospels’ could be written since the Gnostics were not bound by what may or may not have happened while Jesus was on earth–if he ever was.
Sandra Meisel writes, “By manipulting his audience through the conventions of romance-writing, Brown invites readers to identify with his smart, glamorous characters who’ve seen through the impostures of the clerics who hide the ‘truth’ about Jesus and His wife. Blasphemy is delivered in a soft voice with a knowing chuckle: ‘Every faith in the world is based on fabrication.'” (Sandra Meisel, “Dismantling the DaVinci Code,” Crisis Magazine)
Though Brown says in the opening pages of his novel, “all descriptions of documents and secret rituals are accurate”, scholars are dismissing much of his material as resoundingly suspect. Yet another example of Brown’s erroneous research is the presence of the “sacred feminine” within the Gnostic community during the early centuries. There was no such thing. In fact, the Gnostics were the most mysoginistic (women-hating) religious cult around! The Gnostics viewed the human body as evil and women as one of its primary tempters.
Just a novel? Hardly. Quasi-scholarship and bunk-filled research aside, Brown’s novel is a direct attack against orthodox Christianity. The timing is ironic as its success (47 million copies sold since 2003 and 160 weeks on the NY Times bestselling list) rides the crest of the wave of incendiary feelings about corruption within the Catholic church.
On May 19th, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Brown’s novel was released into theaters and many have left those screenings having swallowed his strange brew hook-line-and-sinker. The argument “it’s just a movie” falls apart when you understand what is goading its release. The Enemy, the Wizard behind the curtain, is pulling all the levers and deceiving many.
Take heart, Christians! Like Baum’s Wizard, he is all shout and little bite. Brown, DaVinci and even the devil himself–not a one of them–brings even the singlest bead of sweat to the Father’s forehead. Just you wait and see, though the devil means this for evil, God, who triumphs valiantly, will turn it into good.