The Da Vinci Code After Ten Years: Reflections on Heresy & Christology

What still makes the book and film intriguing is that they repackage old heresies, even if for nothing more than entertainment value

In fact, Stephen Nichols used The Da Vinci Code as the launch pad of his 2007 book, For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church. “If we learn anything from The Da Vinci Code phenomenon, it must be the lesson of the importance of getting the person of Christ right,” Nichols wrote in his introduction. “The early church labored over this question, and they did so in the face of intense challenge. The contemporary church needs to do no less.”

 

Ten years ago, back in August 2006, blockbuster film The Da Vinci Code was wrapping up its three-month long romp at the box office. Although it received mixed reviews from critics, moviegoers were enthralled with the religious thriller. It earned more than $758 million internationally, according to Box Office Mojo. Before ever even becoming a movie, the original book by Dan Brown spent 136 consecutive weeks (more than two straight years) on the New York Times best-seller list.

The Da Vinci Code followed the pursuits of the fictional symbologist Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and French detective Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), with the seeming help of Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen). Prompted by a gruesome murder, they embarked on a quest for answers that led them to uncover a murderous Roman Catholic sect, the secretive Knights Templar, and the Holy Grail.

Among the heretical “truths” they discovered along the way included that Jesus was not God, but a man who was married to Mary Magdalen – the living and breathing Holy Grail. They also found out that Jesus had living decedents continuing through the present day. The Church had been tracking down and wiping out these decedents for millennia, an effort tracing back to St. Peter. Indeed, this was the supposed impetus for the Church’s alleged suppression of women through horrendous means like witch trials.

During one tense scene, Teabing exclaimed: “Jesus must be revealed for what he was. Not miraculous, simply man.”

“Why does it have to be human or divine,” Langdon pondered  at the film’s conclusion. “Maybe human is divine. Why couldn’t have Jesus have been a father and still been capable of doing all those miracles?”

Claims like these naturally stirred up plenty of controversy. Christian commentators leveled blistering criticisms at The Da Vinci Code. These barbs ranged from calling the film “theologically seductive” to “an attack upon the core beliefs of the Christian faith.”

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