With over 40 million copies sold into 44 languages (as of May 2006), the Brown blockbuster has certainly made an impact. And the May 2006 film version simply adds to the book’s success. But the book is as controversial as it is popular.
Indeed, while the book is a work of fiction, Brown claims it is based on fact. And given the importance of the subject matter – who Jesus was, what he taught, and how the church presented that – if his book is in fact riddled with errors and misinformation, then it deserves closer inspection.
And that has happened. There have been a number of good critiques of The Da Vinci Code written by both Catholics and Protestants. Over a dozen book-length treatments come to mind. One of the earliest, and best, Protestant treatments is this book.
Darrell Bock is a leading New Testament scholar and is well qualified to address this topic. He has written extensively elsewhere on some of the issues raised by Dan Brown. Thus this volume is a first-rate assessment of the many theological and historical errors found in Brown’s best-seller.
Meaty chapters cover the key points of controversy: Did Jesus marry and have a child? Just who was Mary Magdalene? Are the Gnostic gospels on a par with the four canonical gospels? Did the early church suppress certain truths and writings about Jesus? Was the divinity of Jesus a later church construct?
These and related questions are carefully answered by Bock. The nearly 200 pages of argument found here make a solid case that Brown has got it wrong big time. Moreover, Bock demonstrates that the central claims of Christianity remain trustworthy.
Everyone who has read Brown should also read Bock. The falsehoods and foolishness of Brown are more than adequately dealt with by the intelligent and irenic pen of Bock. Five stars.