Monarch Books, 2005.
There are a number of good books out which critique the many fallacies and inaccuracies in Dan Brown’s best selling novel. The books by Darrell Bock and Ben Witherington come to mind here. But this volume does not cover all the ground that those volumes do, but instead focuses on a more narrow topic. And that is the contention made by Brown that the early church suppressed many books which denied the deity of Christ and offered a more feminist version of spirituality.
Indeed, argues Green, Brown seeks to undermine the authority and authenticity of the four gospels and the New Testament, while at the same time elevate the authority of a whole range of spurious Gnostic writings. Thus Green here performs a two-fold task: defending the reliability of the Bible, especially the four gospels, and examining Gnosticism and its many expressions.
And Green is well placed to do this. He is a new Testament scholar who has written over 40 books. However, people might complain, “Why get so worried about a novel”. Well, not only has this been a best seller, with a blockbuster film soon to follow, but Dan Brown claims it is based on fact.
Thus many people are being led astray by the false claims and inaccuracies of his book. Moreover, while Brown is a novelist and not a scholar, there are a number of feminist and Gnostic scholars who he depends upon. And it is their scholarship especially that needs to be debunked. Therefore Green spends as much time critiquing the work of Elaine Pagels and Karen King as he does Brown.
The first half of this book examines the case for the reliability of the New testament, the reason why we have four gospels, how the canon was developed, and why there are 27 New Testament documents, and not more. Other scholars have made this case before (such as Bruce Metzger and F.F. Bruce) but Green does a nice job of summarizing the evidence and nicely compiling the data. It makes for an impressive case for the Bible’s authority in general and the gospels historicity and authenticity in particular.
In the second half of this book Green examines Gnosticism in detail. He shows how at odds the ideas of Gnosticism are from the claims of the New Testament, and how foolish is the notion that the Gnostic writings are somehow on a par with the New testament and were suppressed by the church. The Gnostic writings have nothing to do with the real Jesus, and they were rightly regarded by the early church fathers as heretical.
In this very helpful book Green shows that the real agenda of Brown is not just to get rich off of writing a best seller, but to overthrow historical Christianity and supplant it with a rival feminist/Gnostic/pagan worldview. As such it is a real threat to those who embrace biblical Christianity.
This volume unfortunately will never become a best seller like The Da Vinci Code. But it deserves to be widely read. The flood of misinformation, distortion and factual error in the best seller needs to be exposed. And Green has done a very good job of doing just that.