The da Vinci code exposed

SERMON TOPIC: The da Vinci code exposed

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 20 August 2006


Sermon synopsis: The Da Vinci code - FICTION BASED ON FICTION.
In this revival of the old 2nd and 3rd century Gnostic heresy, Dan Brown presents a new, yet old, conspiracy theory. How do scholars of history, Christian and secular alike, view the claims of these pseudo-experts?
Find out why Brown is so selective in his quotations from the Gnostic gospels.
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What is the Da Vinci code?

Jennifer Rast from Contender Ministries aptly calls Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” book “fiction based on fiction.”

The basic gist of the novel is that the Roman Catholic Church has been hiding the truth about Christianity for the last 2,000 years. Included in this bizarre conspiracy theory are the following ‘facts’.

Jesus Christ was nothing more than a common prophet who made no claims of divinity (i.e. to be God). As such Jesus was viewed as a man until the 4th century, at which stage he was ‘promoted’ to godhood by the Roman Emperor Constantine - who was actually a pagan. The Bible in its present format was compiled by Constantine and the Gospels were ‘edited’ to support the claims of later Christians.

Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and their daughter Sarah - who grew up in hiding - gave rise to a prominent family line that is still present in France today. In the ‘original’ gospels, Magdalene was chosen to lead the Church. Mary Magdalene is supposed to be worshiped as a goddess, so Christianity was actually meant to be a form of worship of the divine feminine.

Naturally the Catholic Church is aware of all this and has been fighting for centuries to keep it suppressed. It often has committed murder to do so. The Catholic Church is willing to and often has assassinated the descendants of Christ to keep his bloodline from growing. 1

1 " library/ cracking_da_vinci_code.asp"> library/ cracking_da_vinci_code.asp

What is the Da Vinci code?

The reason that no one knows all these ‘facts’ (other than hundreds of “credible scholars”, the Masons, the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion, the Papacy, Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Botticelli and Walt Disney) is that the evil patriarchal church covered it all up of course, made Mary out to be a prostitute, and changed the church’s true pagan teachings into the singular worship of Jesus.

Fortunately for us, the Knights Templar kept some untainted gospels, the bloodline of Christ, and the “Holy Grail” (which is actually Mary’s womb) in hiding until the unveiling of the Age of Aquarius.

What is the Da Vinci code?

There is a secret society known as the Priory of Sion that is trying to keep the ‘truth’ alive through secret codes in paintings, music, books and even Disney cartoons. These before-mentioned ‘secrets’ were known by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, who was allegedly a member of the Priory of Sion. By looking through Leonardo’s works (as well as Newton, Hugo, Botticelli and Disney) the code left by the protectors of this secret can be deciphered and the truth revealed.

What is the Da Vinci code?

Historical or Hysterical?

Paul Maier, a Harvard graduate, Fulbright scholar, author of 15 books and professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University says: “There is not one ranking scholar in the entire world who supports what Dan Brown has done with history.”

Historian Sandra Meisel, coauthor of “The Da Vinci Hoax” says: “Everything in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is wrong, except Paris is in France; London is in England and Leonardo da Vinci painted pictures. All else is fabrication.”

Dr. D. James Kennedy (coauthor with Jerry Newcombe of “The Da Vinci Myth versus the Gospel Truth”) said:

“We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.”

“In time, the ‘Da Vinci myth’ will be discarded into the dustbin of history, along with all of the other attempts to discredit Christ, while the Gospel truth will continue to spread.”

Paul Maier

Should Christians be worried?

Most Christians simply don’t know their church history or theology.

Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission says: “It would be wonderful to believe Christians can argue the facts to Dan Brown’s hate-filled, fictitious attack on Jesus Christ, Christianity, the Bible, Christians and history. The truth is, however, that many people have not read a Bible or understood their faith sufficiently to counter the story’s intricacies.”

Should Christians be worried?

The DVC suggests that Jesus was a man and a prophet, but not the Divine Son of God. Good heavens! What a novel idea! It sounds like …… the Watchtower! Or, for that matter, Islam. This particular question about the divinity of Jesus has been out there for a while.

Dan Brown simply ‘borrows’ many of his ideas from earlier books like “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and “The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”.

The book proposes ideas that are simply a revival of 2nd to 4th century Gnostic heresies which are familiar to anyone who has studied early Church history. The author banks on the fact that most people are too lazy to consult his sources, so we will examine not only his direct claims but the other teachings in the Gnostic source material.

Whereas Gnosticism has been considered by scholars to originate as a branch of Christianity, alternate theories have proposed traces of Gnostic systems existed some centuries before the Christian Era, thus predating the birth of Jesus. 1

With the rapid growth of Christianity, the Gnostics quickly assimilated Christian beliefs. The core set of beliefs held by the Gnostics included one or more of the following tenets:

There was one, original, unknowable Good God and many lesser ‘gods’ (aeons).

The world was created by an inferior Evil God known as “the Demiurge”, who was acting without authorisation from the Good God. For this reason the material world is inherently evil and flawed.

Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden by the Evil Demiurge for the ‘sin’ of pursuing knowledge (‘gnosis’ in Greek).

1 Wikipedia: Gnosticism

Who were the Gnostics?

Gnostics identified the evil Demiurge with the God of the Old Testament (OT); thus they rejected the OT and Judaism, and often celebrated those who were rejected by the OT, such as Cain and Esau. The serpent is also a hero because he tipped Eve off about the secret knowledge – “… God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

But human bodies, although their matter is evil, contain within them a “divine spark” that fell from the good, true God. Knowledge enables the divine spark to return to the true God from whence it came. Jesus was an emissary of the Good God, who was sent to Earth to impart secret knowledge (gnosis) to a select few. So the NT is just a mass market version of what Christianity was supposed to be, while Gnostics possessed the “special edition” DVD with many bonus features, including secret teachings which were denied to the unworthy.

Who were the Gnostics?

Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, but rather created the illusion that he was being crucified. Some Gnostics believed that Jesus swapped places with Simon of Cyrene (who in reality mercifully carried the cross to give Jesus relief). Then from a distance Jesus laughs “at their ignorance” while Simon is crucified in his place. (And remember, this is the emissary of the GOOD God.)

I’m not joking here either. In the Gnostic book “The Second Treatise of the Great Seth” this ‘sadistic’ Jesus explains:

“It was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. It was another upon whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height and laughing at their ignorance.”

The Muslim Quran also borrows from this Gnostic myth by declaring:

“But they did not kill him, neither did they crucify him, but a similitude was made for them.”

Who were the Gnostics?

The earliest Christian records

The DVC says: the Dead Sea Scrolls were “found in the 1950s.”

FACT: Brown’s scholarship is so poor he doesn’t even get a simple and easily verifiable date right. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, not in the 1950’s.

The DVC says: The Dead Sea Scrolls along with the Nag Hammadi documents are “the earliest Christian records”.

FACT: The Dead Sea Scrolls are strictly Jewish documents. They don’t contain any gospels or anything even mentioning Jesus. It is commonly held that they were written by the Jewish sect of Essenes, not Christians. The scrolls contain parts of every book in the OT except Esther.

FACT: The Nag Hammadi documents date from the 2nd to 4th century while the NT books date from the 1st century.

The divinity (deity) of Jesus

The DVC says: The divinity of Jesus is an invention of 4th century church leaders at the Council of Nicea. “… until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet… a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”

FACT: Most Gnostic heresies prevalent in the 2nd and 3rd centuries (there were a number of variations) did not view Jesus as a man as they believed that spirit was good and flesh was evil.

Gnostics generally taught docetism, the belief that Jesus did not have a physical body, but rather his apparent physical body was an illusion, and hence his crucifixion was not physical.

While they did not view Jesus as “a great and powerful man” (as the DVC suggests), he was considered to be a lower god (an aeon) amongst other gods who were subordinate to an “unknowable god”.

A “relatively close vote” that made Jesus the Son of God

The DVC says: “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea... a relatively close vote at that.”

FACT: The Council of Nicea was formed to consider other deviant views of Jesus. There were heretical movements by then (propagated by Arius) which taught that Jesus was not divine by nature, but was created in ages past by God. The debate was carried out not so much to answer the question of whether Jesus was divine, but the question of whether his divinity implied that he had always existed.

Nor was it a close call - only 2 out of 318 bishops at the council did not sign the resulting statement affirming the full deity of Christ. This is a 99.4% majority, commonly known by politicians as a “landslide” not a “close vote” (depending of course on which country you’re in).

Christ’s divinity critical to unify the Roman empire ???

The DVC says: “Establishing Christ’s divinity was critical to the further unification of the Roman empire and to the new Vatican power base....”

Why??? It is highly unlikely that “establishing Christ’s divinity” would be necessary to unify the Roman Empire or give power to the Church (which was also not called “the Vatican” back then). Consider the example of Islam, which unified empires and gave great power to religious authorities - its founder was accepted as a mortal prophet. 1

1 “Council of Nicea and The Da Vinci Code” " da_vinci_code/ nicea.htm"> da_vinci_code/ nicea.htm


The DVC says that until the 4th century “…Jesus was viewed by His followers as … a man …”

Let’s briefly look at the source data we have from the first 4 centuries:

John, the disciple of Jesus writes of Jesus’ divinity in the following passage: “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him … So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.” (John 1:1-4, 14, NLT)

This illustrated manuscript contains these very words (in the original Greek) that we just read from John 1 and it is carbon-dated at 175-225 A.D.

We now see that forensic manuscript evidence contradicts the DVC’s claim that Jesus’ divinity was a 4th century invention.

A copy of John from 175 – 225 A.D.


Thomas, the disciple of Jesus – John 20:28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Paul, the apostle – Acts 20:28 Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Author of Hebrews – Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being… 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” … 8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever…

1ST CENTURY extra-Biblical

Josephus (1st century Jewish historian) indicates his reluctance to call Jesus a man, considered him to be the Messiah and records his resurrection as a historically accepted fact:

Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII Chapter 3:3 Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ*. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

* Christ (Greek) means Messiah (Hebrew) or “Anointed One”


2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

Polycarp from Smyrna (disciple of John): “… may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father that raised him from the dead.” The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians 12:2

140 A.D. Aristides: “[Christians] are they who, above every people of the Earth, have found the truth, for they acknowledge God, the creator and maker of all things, in the only-begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit” Apology 16

150 A.D. Justin Martyr: “The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God.” First Apology, ch 63

C. 165-175 A.D. Tatian the Syrian: “We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man.” Address to the Greeks

The martyr Polycarp

2nd CENTURY Church Fathers

C. 177 A.D. Melito of Sardes: “The activities of Christ after His Baptism, and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the Deity hidden in His flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, He gave positive indications of His two natures: of His Deity, by the miracles during the three years following after His Baptism; of His humanity, in the thirty years which came before His Baptism, during which, by reason of His condition according to the flesh, he concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before the ages.” Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai

C. 180 A.D. Irenaeus of Lyons: “Nevertheless, what cannot be said of anyone else who ever lived, that He is Himself in His own right God and Lord and Eternal King and Only-begotten and Incarnate Word, proclaimed as such by all the Prophets and by the Apostles and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. The Scriptures would not have borne witness to these things concerning Him, if, like everyone else, He were mere man.” Against Heresies 3, 19, 1

2nd CENTURY non-Christian

Pliny the Younger as governor of Pontus/ Bithynia from 111-113 A.D. wrote (in his Letters 10.96-97) to Emperor Trajan regarding the early Christian church, their worship of Christ, and how he persecuted, tortured, and murdered them:

“They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so.”

3rd CENTURY Church Fathers

200 A.D. Tertullian: “The origins of both his substances display him as man and as God: from the one, born, and from the other, not born” The Flesh of Christ, 5:6-7

200 A.D. Hippolytus: “For Christ is the God above all…” Elucidations, Ch. 30, Author's Concluding Address

225 A.D. Origen: “The holy Apostles, in preaching the faith of Christ, treated with the utmost clarity of certain matters which they believed to be of absolute necessity to all believers...The specific points which are clearly handed down through the Apostolic preaching [are] these: First, that there is one God who created and arranged all things… Secondly, that Jesus Christ himself was born of the Father before all creatures...Although He was God, He took flesh, and having been made man, He remained what He was, God” De Principis

250 A.D. Ignatius of Antioch: “For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in the womb by Mary according to a dispensation…” Ephesians 18:2

3rd CENTURY Church Fathers

235 A.D. Novatian: “For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God.” Treatise on the Trinity 11

253 A.D. Cyprian of Carthage: “One who denies that Christ is God cannot become his temple [of the Holy Spirit]…” Letters 73:12

262 A.D. Gregory the Wonderworker: “We therefore acknowledge one true God, the one First Cause, and one Son, very God of very God, possessing of nature the Father’s divinity,- that is to say, being the same in substance with the Father” A Sectional Confession of Faith 15 & 265 A.D. “There is one God… There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity; nor anything superinduced, as if at some former period it was nonexistent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides ever.” Declaration of Faith

4th CENTURY Church Fathers

305 A.D. Arnobius: “‘Well, then,’ some raging, angry, and excited man will say, ‘Is that Christ your God?’ ‘God indeed,’ we shall answer, ‘and God of the hidden powers’” Against the Pagans 1:42

307 A.D. Lactantius: “When we speak of God the Father and God the Son, we do not speak of them as different, nor do we separate them, because the Father cannot exist without the Son, nor can the Son be separated from the Father.” Divine Institutes 4:28-29

325 A.D. Council of Nicaea: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homousion) with the Father, by whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost.”

Firing on “the Canon”

The DVC says: At the Council of Nicea Constantine “commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made him godlike.”


While it is true that the development of the Bible was a historical process, Constantine had nothing to do with it and the Council of Nicea did not discuss it. 1 It was the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397 and not the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 327 that finally settled the NT Canon; this happened 60 years after Constantine’s death! 2

1 “Council of Nicea and The Da Vinci Code” da_vinci_code/ nicea.htm 2 However, most (22 books) of the NT (including the 4 Gospels) was already being quoted by the Church Fathers from 100 A.D. onwards.

Firing on “the Canon”

There was no ‘new’ Bible commissioned by Constantine. The emperor simply requested that Eusebius (the Bishop of Carthage) make 50 copies of the already existing and widely accepted scriptures. 1

No evidence suggests that Constantine or anyone else “embellished” Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. 1

The gospels in our Bible clearly depict Christ’s “human traits,” which is consistent with the Christian teaching that Jesus was fully God as well as fully human. 1

1 “The Da Vinci Code: A Biblical response” special/ DaVinciCode

Jesus deity & the Canon

The DVC says: “The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up and burned”.


There were no gospels ‘earlier’ than Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. 1

There were no gospels burned by Constantine. Although some texts written by Arius were burned, none of them were gospels. 1 On the question of mass burning of texts deemed heretical, Bart Ehrman (Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina ) says there’s little evidence to support that claim. Rejected books simply disappeared because people stopped using them, and nobody bothered to make new copies in an age long before the printing press.

1 Ibid

The Council of Nicea

80 Gospels?

The DVC claim: Teabing says “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion…”

FACT: In 1945, a collection of ancient texts written in Coptic were found at the site of Nag Hammadi (Egypt) dating from the 4th century A.D. (The earliest the originals are believed to have been written is in the 2nd century*). They had been sealed in jars and buried by a small Gnostic sect which had a monastery on the site.

Nag Hammadi yielded about 45 works, 5 are called gospels: Gospel of Truth, Thomas, Philip, Egyptians, and Mary. These works were written too late to be the works of the claimed authors**, and these false claims of authorship were made to try extend credibility and apostolic authority to the writings. Today we call this fraud and forgery.

* Ireneaus wrote in about 180 A.D. that the heretics “boast that they possess more gospels than there really are.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies)

** Even Quispel and his collaborators, who first published the Gospel of Thomas, suggested the date of c. 140 A.D. for the original, far too late for the apostle Thomas to be the author.

In the 2nd century AD Irenaeus already wrote that the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) in our New Testament were the only ones considered to be scripture:

It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the “pillar and ground” of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. *

* Against Heresies: Book III, Chapter XI, 8

80 Gospels?

Again in the 2nd century AD Irenaeus notes that most of the heretics and Gnostic sects used only the 4 gospels or portions thereof:

So firm is the ground upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics themselves bear witness to them, and, starting from these [documents], each one of them endeavours to establish his own peculiar doctrine. For the Ebionites, who use Matthew’s Gospel only, are confuted out of this very same, making false suppositions with regard to the Lord. But Marcion, mutilating that according to Luke, is proved to be a blasphemer of the only existing God, from those [passages] which he still retains. Those, again, who separate Jesus from Christ, alleging that Christ remained impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered, preferring the Gospel by Mark, if they read it with a love of truth, may have their errors rectified. Those, moreover, who follow Valentinus, making copious use of that according to John, to illustrate their conjunctions, shall be proved to be totally in error by means of this very Gospel, as I have shown in the first book. Since, then, our opponents do bear testimony to us, and make use of these [documents], our proof derived from them is firm and true. *

* Against Heresies: Book III, Chapter XI, 7

80 Gospels?

Irenaeus mentions that a Gnostic sect (the followers of Valentinus) claimed to have more Gospels, calling their own 2nd century writings ‘Gospels’ even though they were not of apostolic origin:

But those who are from Valentinus, being, on the other hand, altogether reckless, while they put forth their own compositions, boast that they possess more Gospels than there really are. Indeed, they have arrived at such a pitch of audacity, as to entitle their comparatively recent writing “the Gospel of Truth,” though it agrees in nothing with the Gospels of the Apostles, so that they have really no Gospel which is not full of blasphemy. For if what they have published is the Gospel of truth, and yet is totally unlike those which have been handed down to us from the apostles, any who please may learn, as is shown from the Scriptures themselves, that that which has been handed down from the apostles can no longer be reckoned the Gospel of truth. But that these Gospels alone are true and reliable, and admit neither an increase nor diminution of the aforesaid number, I have proved by so many and such [arguments]. *

* Against Heresies: Book III, Chapter XI, 9

80 Gospels?

While there is near universal acceptance of the 4 canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) by the mid-2nd century, none of the non-canonical Gospels were even close in date of composition, breadth of distribution, or proportion of acceptance. The Coptic gospels from Nag Hammadi are Gnostic heretical writings that were not even considered when the canon of Scripture was formed!!!

Origen wrote in the 3rd century “I know a certain gospel which is called ‘The Gospel according to Thomas’ and a ‘Gospel according to Matthias,’ and many others have we read—lest we should in any way be considered ignorant because of those who imagine they possess some knowledge if they are acquainted with these. Nevertheless, among all these we have approved solely what the church has recognized, which is that only the four gospels should be accepted.” Homily on Luke 1:1

80 Gospels?

The DVC claim: Teabing says these other gospels have a “more human” Jesus.

FACT: The Jesus of these books (not scrolls) is far from human. They portray a very mystical Christ with little historical narrative context.

Some of the codices found at Nag Hammadi

80 Gospels?

Why were the “lost gospels” really lost?

Notably, the Jesus of many ‘gospels’ lacks the character of the Jesus in our first-century Gospels. Thus, for example, in the Infancy Story of Thomas, Jesus strikes dead a boy who bumped him. When the deceased boy's parents complain to Joseph, Jesus strikes them blind. When another observer complains because Jesus made clay sparrows on the Sabbath, Jesus claps his hands and the birds fly off. 1

Other portions of the so called ‘gospel’ of Thomas are simply incoherent. Read it yourself and compare it to the 4 canonical gospels from the 1st century and see what was supposedly ‘hidden’ from us. The truth is that nobody bothered to copy them. Why? The following excerpts might explain. What do these passages mean?

7: Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”

1 “Christian History: The Da Vinci Code, Corrected” ch/ 2004/ issue82/ 8.15.html

More “gems” from the gospel of Thomas

56: “Jesus said, ‘Whoever has come to understand the world, has found (only) a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world.”

11: Jesus said, “…The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?”

19: Jesus said, “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being. If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you.”

More “gems” from the gospel of Thomas

Notice these “very clear” instructions from Jesus on how to enter the kingdom:

22: Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

More “gems” from the gospel of Thomas

Here are some favorites for the nudist colonies:

21 Mary said to Jesus, “What are your disciples like?” He said, They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs. when the owners of the field come, they will say, “Give us back our field.” They take off their clothes in front of them in order to give it back to them, and they return their field to them.

37 His disciples said, “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?” Jesus said, “When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.”

Profound, aren’t they? It’s no wonder that proponents of the neo-Gnostic beliefs prefer to quote isolated pieces of these books, rather than encouraging people to read the incoherent nonsense in the full text.

The NT is false testimony?

The DVC alleges: “The New Testament is false testimony”

“The four Gospels were written during the life and the times of those who were the eyewitnesses of Jesus. Now, more importantly, … they were also written during the life and times of the skeptics, who could refute anything that was said.” – Kerby Anderson

Matthew was written by a disciple and eyewitness.

Mark was a native of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and based his Gospel on the eyewitness testimony of Peter the apostle. 1

2 Pet 1:16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

1 Irenaeus in Against Heresies: Book III, Ch 1, 1: “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

The NT is false testimony?

Luke consulted eyewitness like Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Luke 1:1-3 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning…

John was written by the ‘beloved disciple’ who was closest to Jesus.

John 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

In the 2nd century AD Irenaeus writes, “Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” 1

1 Against Heresies: Book III, Ch 1, 1

Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

The DVC: … the marriage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus is “a matter of historical record”.

FACT: A Newsweek article, that summarized leading scholars’ opinions, concluded that the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were secretly married has no historical basis. The proposal set forth in The DVC is built primarily upon one solitary verse in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip that indicates Jesus and Mary were ‘companions’. In the book, Teabing tries to build a case that the word for companion (koinonos) could mean spouse. But Teabing’s theory is not accepted by scholars. Actually, the word ‘companion’ here is a Greek word that rarely means wife, but more often has other meanings such as sister (in a spiritual sense), or fellow-worker. There is another Greek word that could have been used, and would have been much less ambiguous, if ‘spouse’ had been the specific meaning intended.

Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing, an alleged ‘expert’ historian in “The Da Vinci Code” movie

Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

Nowhere even in the Gnostic gospels does it mention Jesus and Mary being married. Brown (literally) relies instead on “reading between the lines” in the 3rd century Coptic ‘gospel’ of Philip. The verse used by the DVC is actually fragmented in the original document. This is downright convenient if you’re inventing a conspiracy theory - as you have the liberty of filling in the blanks to make it say what you like:

And the companion of the […] Mary Magdalene. […] more than […] the disciples, […] kiss her […] on her […]. The rest of the disciples […].

And the companion of [the Saviour] is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth]. The rest [of the disciples were offended] by it [and expressed disapproval].

Besides all the other blanks, ‘lips’ could have easily been ‘cheek’. All we know for certain that the author was trying to tell us is that ‘blank’ was the companion of Mary. And frequently ‘blank’ kissed ‘blank’ on the ‘blank’.

Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

The DVC: Teabing claims “any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse.” The novel reports that “Langdon concurred with a nod.”

FACT: It doesn’t really matter what any Aramaic scholar thinks about this because the gospel of Philip found at Nag Hammadi is written in Coptic, and the only other known fragments of it are in Greek.

In any event the Gnostic Gospel of Philip was written some 200 years after Jesus. The misleading title is modern; the only connection with Philip the Apostle is that he is the only apostle mentioned (at 73,8). The text itself makes no claim to be from Philip.

Gnostics and marriage?

Is it likely that the Gnostic gospels would have taught that Jesus was married?

The reality is that the Gnostics had widely divergent views on sex. Most Gnostics believed the body was made from inferior matter and thus utterly unimportant in the scheme of things. This naturally leads to 1 of 2 extreme viewpoints.

ABSTINENCE or ASCETICISM: It’s best to entirely forego all pleasures of the sinful flesh and hence one should never have sex at all, OR

INDULGENCE or HEDONISM: Since the flesh is completely worthless, it’s completely irrelevant what you do with it and so you’re at liberty to sexually indulge yourself.

The first viewpoint has an unfortunate side-effect of causing your cult to pretty much die out in the first generation. This is probably why you tend to hear more about the second viewpoint.

Was Jesus expected to marry?

Some have tried to argue that it was expected of every Jewish man to get married - and hence Jesus would surely have followed custom and been married.

Such an argument is totally unconvincing. A number of major prophets were never married—including the likes of Jeremiah and John the Baptist.

In addition, Paul the apostle was not married.

Brown believes the Dead Sea scrolls support his theories. However the Essene community at Qumran which produced these scrolls were a community of Jews which included unmarried men.

Although a minister had a right to marry, Jesus is not named in Paul’s list. He states in 1 Cor 9:5 “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” Now, if Jesus had been married, surely the apostle Paul would have cited Jesus' marriage and not Peter’s (Cephas) as the number one precedent?

Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

On the cross Jesus shows no special concern for Mary Magdalene (who was present), but asks John to look after his mother, Mary. Funny how John is called the “disciple whom he loved” when Mary Magdalene was also a disciple?

Jn 19:25-27 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John & Mary, the mother of Jesus in “The Passion”

Jesus, a feminist?

The DVC is popular with feminists because of it’s concept that the “divine feminine” was supposedly suppressed for years by chauvinistic male Church leaders. The DVC states: “Jesus was the original feminist. He intended for the future of His Church to be in the hands of Mary Magdalene.” (He got this idea from the Gnostic “Gospel of Mary”).

However his other source materials of Gnostic writings teach something else:

Many Gnostics (especially the followers of Valentinus) taught that there was one, original, unknowable ‘male’ God. The female goddess Sophia was at the bottom of the food chain of ‘gods’ (aeons).

In addition Sophia sinned by seeking to know the unknowable One, and as a consequence of her sin the Demiurge (the Evil God, remember?) came into being, who created the physical world (a bad thing, according to Gnostics).

Christ (a male god) was then sent to earth to undo the damage the female goddess Sophia had done by giving men the secret knowledge (gnosis) needed to rescue themselves from the physical world and return to spiritual world.

Gnosticism favoured woman?

Brown conveniently omits to quote from the Gnostic gospel of Thomas. Most would find this pretty demeaning to women:

Gospel of Thomas 114: Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.” Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

According to the DVC, in the alleged ‘original’ Gospels, Mary Magdalene rather than Peter was directed to establish the Church. Again Brown quotes selectively from these fraudulent books as and when it suits his theory. He uses “proof by exception” rather than consistently consulting all his Gnostic sources:

Gospel of Thomas 12: The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?” Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”

The Gnostic Gospel according to the Egyptians (2nd century) has Jesus say, “I came to destroy the works of the female”.

Divine Feminine: YaHWeH & JeHoVaH

The DVC says: “The Jewish Tetragrammaton YHWH—the sacred name for God—in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous 1 physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah”.

FACT: YHWH was not derived from ‘JEHOVAH.’ The term actually predates ‘JEHOVAH’ by thousands of years. Brown, in fact, has it backwards—i.e., “JEHOVAH” was derived from YHWH. It is merely the 16th century Latinized form of YHWH with ‘a,’ ‘o’ and ‘a’ (the vowels from adonai, “my Lord”) inserted between each consonant (Latinizing the word changed the ‘Y’ and ‘W’ to ‘J’ and ‘V’). As for the word Havah, there is nothing ‘pre-Hebraic’ about it. This is simply ‘Eve’ in Hebrew and it appears in the Old Testament. 2

1 i.e. genderless 2 “The Da Vinci Code: A Biblical response” special/ DaVinciCode

Mona Lisa is still smiling

Another idiotic claim of the DVC is that “Mona Lisa” is an anagram of Amon L’Isa, from the Egyptian god Amon and the goddess Isis – “whose ancient pictogram was once called L’Isa”. This was apparently Leonardo’s self-portrait of himself in ‘drag’ and was meant to represent the god-goddess. He used this name as one of his ‘codes’ (hint: secret knowledge or gnosis) to leave us a clue about the “divine feminine”.

FACTS: Brown’s art knowledge is as bad as his history. “Mona Lisa” is an English nickname for the painting, taken from art historian Giorgio Vasari’s comment published 31 years after Leonardo’s death that it was a portrait of one Monna (from ‘Madonna’ or ‘Madam’) Lisa, so Leonardo had nothing to do with the name. Before these names became established, the painting had been referred to by various descriptive phrases, such as “a certain Florentine lady” and “a courtesan in a gauze veil.”

Also Isis’s pictogram was never called L’Isa.

The Mona Lisa

The Last Supper

Yet another ‘evidence’ Dan Brown sets forth for Jesus’ alleged marriage is Leonardo Da Vinci's painting of The Last Supper. To Jesus’ right, we are told, is Mary Magdalene, not John. Leonardo knew of this ‘secret’ and put a clue of it in this painting. It is from this detail that the novel gets its title, The Da Vinci Code.

Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

The Last Supper

One wonders where John was then (under the table?). Leonardo clearly shows Peter asking John who the betrayer was as recorded in John’s Gospel. John was depicted by most artists as young and unshaven compared to the other disciples.

John the Baptist

While it is true that John looks effeminate in The Last Supper, this is quite in keeping with other paintings by this artist. Indeed, even John the Baptist (the rough prophet from the desert) was portrayed in a feminine way by Da Vinci.

In reality, even if Leonardo did believe this bizarre theory (which is unlikely), his painting 1500 years after the event has no bearing on what actually took place at the Last Supper.

And Leonardo da Vinci never could have known about the Priory of Sion, since it wasn’t founded until 1956 – which was 437 years after his death.

Da Vinci’s “John the Baptist”

Da Vinci’s alleged view on Scripture

The DVC says that Leonardo Da Vinci made the following comments about the New Testament: 1) “Many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitude”; and 2) “Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes”

FACT: These remarks have nothing to do with Leonardo’s views on scripture. His first comment, in context, is about alchemists who claimed that they could change lead into gold. His second comment, in context, refers to the foolishness of what he called men’s “own opinions,” “lascivious joys,” and “[v]ain splendour.” Brown completely misrepresented Leonardo’s writings to make it seem as if the great artist detested the Bible. 1

1 Ibid

Leonarda Da Vinci

The royal bloodline of Jesus

The DVC: “Mary Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion… With the help of Jesus’ trusted uncle, Joseph of Arimathea [she] secretly traveled to France, then known as Gaul. There she found safe refuge in the Jewish community. It was here in France that she gave birth to a daughter. Her name was Sarah.” The novel then suggests that Jesus’ and Mary’s bloodline lived on through Sarah and married into a Dark Age dynasty of French kings known to historians as the Merovingians.

This story is derived from medieval legends that circulated in France - which relied on identifying Mary Magdalene as being the same person as Mary of Bethany (they weren’t). In the story Mary and Lazarus were cast out of Palestine and set adrift in an oar-less boat that landed in southern France. They then became among the first to preach the faith there.

There are 2 conflicting legends dealing with Sarah. In both legends, Mary first flees from Jerusalem to Egypt. She raises a girl in Alexandria until the age of 12 and then travels to the southern coast of Gaul, to the village of Sainte Maries de la Mer. Most of the legends dealing with Sarah and Mary have them both ending up in Gaul. However most texts refer to Sarah as an Egyptian servant girl, not as the daughter of Mary (and not linked to Jesus for that matter).

The DVC: “The Church needed to defame Mary Magdalene [making her out to be a prostitute] in order to cover up her dangerous secret – her role as the Holy Grail.”

FACT: The NT does not make Mary Magdalene a prostitute. There are 2 separate accounts of Jesus having his feet anointed, one by an unnamed “sinful woman” (Luke 7) and another by Mary of Bethany (Mt 26, Mark 14 and John 12). Neither of these women are Mary Magdalene.

Magdalene literally meant that she was from the town of ‘Magdala’ on the Sea of Galilee, which is a far cry from Bethany in Judea (near Jerusalem).

The account in Luke’s gospel is at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry involving an unnamed woman at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Simon objects to the woman anointing Jesus because she is a “sinful woman”.

The account in John’s gospel is just before Jesus’ crucifixion and is in the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany. Mary of Bethany who was well-known to Jesus, anoints him and Judas objects because of the perceived waste of money.

The royal bloodline of Jesus

The Holy Grail

DVC Claim: The Holy Grail is not the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper, but a coded way of talking about the Holy Blood, or family of Jesus. In the DVC, Mary Magdalene is the wife of Jesus and the mother of his children, a secret the church wanted to cover up to protect the divinity of Jesus. The association with the Grail comes through the idea of Holy Blood, and its bloodline (the sangreal). A word play on the term Sang Real gets us to a connection to the Holy Grail. This idea was borrowed from the “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”.

FACT: In any event the Holy Grail was fictional and made up by the 12th century poet Chrétien de Troyes. And he said it was a serving dish – graal in medieval French – not a cup. Later writers of Arthurian fantasy fiction ran with the idea.

Trying to develop a belief system based on medieval fiction is tantamount to trying to develop a world view based on “The Lord of the Rings”.

Priory of Sion

Here’s the actual beginning of the DVC book: “FACT: The Priory of Sion - a European secret society founded in 1099 - is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous Members of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo Da Vinci.”

The novel goes on to depict the Priory of Sion as a secret society defending the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Because it allegedly holds the secret of this bloodline, it is persecuted by the Catholic Church. The organization also is devoted to worshiping “the sacred feminine” and holds orgies as a form of ritual worship. 1

FACT: Pierre Plantard, a French anti-Semite fraudster, created the “Priory of Sion” in 1956, not 1099, and the documents he planted were found to be counterfeits. There is no evidence that any of these famous men he cites were involved in any secret society. Sir Isaac Newton, in fact, was a devout Christian, not a member of a goddess-based cult as Brown spins it. Plantard, who did prison time for fraud, confessed to the document hoax in a French court in 1993. He also claimed that he was the rightful king of France because he was a direct descendant of Mary Magdalene. He died in disgrace in 2000. 2

1 2 Sandra Miesel in “The Da Vinci Delusion”

The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar, as portrayed in Brown’s novel, are the military arm of the Priory of Sion. 1 In the novel, the Knights supposedly amassed a great deal of wealth very quickly. This wealth was gained by the Knights finding what the DVC refers to as the “Sang Real documents.”

Brown contends these documents provided proof of a royal bloodline dating back to Christ. With the documents in hand, Brown suggests the Knights Templar blackmailed the Vatican, and thus explained their quick rise to power.

Brown states King Phillip IV and Pope Clement V sent secret orders to military officers that accused the Knights Templar of heresy against the church and had them rounded up, tortured and then executed as an act of revenge for blackmailing the Vatican.

1 Interestingly Dan Brown’s major source for these ideas, “The Templar Revelation”, dismisses the dossiers of Pierre Plantard as fabrications. Even the authors of “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and “The Messianic Legacy” later came to question them. ( The-Real-History.php)

The Knights Templar

Historians however, have an entirely different view of the Knights Templar. Dr. Karen Ralls, author of “The Templars and the Grail”, states the Knights Templar amassed their wealth by protecting Christian pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land. She also goes on to say the Knights Templar were responsible for the first international banking system.

Their wealth, and rumours of misconduct, led King Philip IV of France to arrest all his kingdom’s Templars in 1307. Using evidence obtained after horrific tortures, Philip persuaded the weak Pope Clement V- then resident in France - that the order was guilty of blasphemy, sodomy, and idolatry. As many as 120 Templars, including their Grand Master, were burned at the stake. The king confiscated their wealth and the order was disbanded. Former members accepted pensions or joined other orders.

Dr. Ralls suggests that The Knights Templar were disbanded because the Holy Land reverted to Muslim control in 1312, the year historical texts point to as the end of the Knights Templar.

Nothing in Christianity is original?

DVC Claim: “Nothing in Christianity is original”. The weekly holy day was originally the Jewish Sabbath but was later changed, or rather “stolen from the pagans” who worshipped the sun, hence Sunday.

FACT: Brown seems to battle to get anything right. Although the Roman Church did sometimes borrow things from competing religions, Sunday was chosen because it was the day of Christ’s resurrection – the 1st day of the week. (See " ClientFiles/ Events/ Sabbath-versus-Lords-day.htm">http:// ClientFiles/ Events/ Sabbath-versus-Lords-day.htm)

Luke records (in the 1st century) that “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.” (Acts 20:7) – This predates Constantine. John’s reference to the “Lord’s Day” (Rev 1:9) was to Sunday.

The relationship between early Christianity and the Greco-Roman world is extremely complex. Christianity was born into that world and integrated with the culture around it in many ways. Sometimes this integration was conscious and intentional. Sometimes it was unconscious. When it was deliberate, it was sometimes a compromise with the cultures and sometimes a co-opting of language and rituals in order to give them new (Christian) meaning. Dan Brown's proposal that the accommodation of Christianity to Greco-Roman culture was a plot instigated by Constantine is far too simplistic.


The DVC says: “Rome’s official religion was sun worship.”

FACT: There was no “official religion” of Rome. There was a Roman tradition of mutual toleration: any religion with ancient roots would be tolerated as long as its adherents also tolerated all others. While sun worship was practiced in Rome, it was one element in the broad range of religions allowed by this policy. Christianity was not tolerated because it was viewed as being intolerant of others. 1

The DVC says that Constantine made Christianity “the official religion” of the Roman Empire.

FACT: While Constantine did stop the persecution of Christians, he did not declare Christianity the official religion of the Empire. In the Edict of Milan (313 A.D.), Constantine simply declared that Christian worship was now to be tolerated. 1

1 “Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code” davinci/ factandfiction.html

Excerpt from the DVC:

Sophie: “I thought Constantine was a Christian.”

Teabing: “Hardly… He was a lifelong pagan who was baptized on his deathbed, too weak to protest.”

FACT: Constantine did not receive baptism until shortly before his death in 337 AD, which some have interpreted as a lack of sincerity or commitment.

However in the 4th and 5th centuries Christians often delayed their baptisms until late in life. This was because of the prevalent idea that mortal sins committed after baptism were sins against the Holy Spirit and hence unforgivable. Ancient accounts indicate that he had hoped to be baptized in the Jordan River shortly before death, but was too sick to make it. 1

1 “Constantine the Great and The Da Vinci Code” da_vinci_code/ constantine.htm


Excerpt from the DVC:

Sophie: “Why would a pagan emperor choose Christianity as the official religion?”

Teabing: “Constantine was a very good businessman… he simply backed the winning horse.”

FACT: The majority of scholars do not think that Christianity was “the winning horse” at that point… 1 Shortly before Constantine’s rise to power, Christians had undergone their tenth and worst persecution from Roman emperors – this time at the hand of Diocletian. As such the evidence points to a sincere conversion.

One of the most striking evidences of Constantine’s sincere religious faith is the Oration to the Saints, 2 which Eusebius attached to his Life. Although initially suspect because of it’s rather sophisticated theology (for an emperor), it is now almost unanimously believed to be composed and delivered by Constantine himself. 1

1 Ibid 2 Full online text available at: " ccel/ schaff/ npnf201.iv.vii.i.html"> ccel/ schaff/ npnf201.iv.vii.i.html


Actually, Constantine’s religious life is greatly debated. That Constantine had ‘political’ motives is well established, but we cannot say that he had no ‘religious’ motives at all. This is a complicated issue for any political leader with religious convictions. While Dan Brown’s view that Constantine’s motives were solely political is one possible interpretation of the facts, it is a weak one, difficult to support with empirical evidence. 1

1 “Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code” davinci/ factandfiction.html


The Emperor Contstantine

While it is generally accepted by Christians that Constantine may have inadvertently ‘corrupted’ the Church by legitimizing it, in his defense it must be remembered that he did stop the brutal persecution of Christians.

For a fuller defense of Constantine see: "">


APPENDIX 1: More mundane errors

“The Da Vinci Delusion” looks at more mundane errors as well.

DVC Claim: Dan Brown tells readers that Silas, a self-punishing albino monk/ assassin, belongs to Opus Dei, a Catholic prelature.

FACT: According to the Catholic Church Opus Dei has no monks. Its purpose, in fact, is to energize Catholic lay people.

Paul Bettany plays the “evil” Opus Dei monk Silas in the film.

DVC Claim: The Louvre’s pyramid has 666 panes of glass.

FACT: There are 673. That’s what the Louvre says, and co-author of the “Rough Guide to The Da Vinci Code” James McConnachie has counted them himself.

The Louvre in Paris

APPENDIX 1: More mundane errors


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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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