Da Vinci Code : Mistakes
Dan Brown implies that his book is based on “Fact” and objective research. However, there are numerous claims which can be easily proved false.
Errors Includes :
Name: In The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown calls
Leonardo da Vinci simply “Da Vinci” as if that is his last
name, however it is only an indication of the town he is from.
The Code - Last Supper,
and Holy Grail : The book
The Da Vinci Code states that there is no chalice, or Holy Grail, in the Last Supper painted by Leonardo.
And he claims that the person to Jesus’ right is really Mary Magdalene, not the
Apostle John even though all reputable art historians state that it is
John. Supposedly, this symbolized a secret message or code that Leonardo
put into his painting. The book claims that the blood of Jesus is not
contained in a cup, but in Mary Magdalene who is pregnant with Jesus’
daughter. If the person to Jesus’ right is really Mary Magdalene, then
the picture is missing one Apostle.
No Cup : As for the claim that there is no Cup or
Chalice, there are actually 13 cups – one for Jesus and each of the Apostles.
Zoom in to see them Last
Supper. The fact that
the Chalice is not large is not problematic since Leonardo was painting an artistic
representation of John’s Gospel where
there is no specific mention of the Institution of the Eucharist - the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.
Priory of Sion :
The book states:
The truth is The Priory of Sion began in France in 1956. The "parchments" Brown refers to in his "FACTS" were placed in the Bibliotheque Nationale by a convict named Pierre Plantard. Several books have exposed Plantard's deception as well a BBC documentary in 1996. Dan Brown's "FACT" is based on a proven scam.
• Jesus’ Divinity, Nicaea, Vatican Conspiracy : The Da Vinci Code claims that Constantine conspired with the “Vatican” to make Jesus God. The book asserts that before the Council of Nicaea, 325 AD, everyone believed that Jesus was only human. And this supposed conspiracy resulted in a “close vote” at this Council where the belief that Jesus was only human was overturned so that the brand new doctrine of Jesus’ Divinity could be made the new unifying principle of the empire. There are several things wrong with this absurd claim.
• New Testament vs. Gnostic Gospels
: The Council of Nicaea also
threw out 80 Gnostic Gospels and promoted the four canonical Gospels
that Christians use today. In actuality there are only 5 Gnostic Gospels and they
date from the second century and later. Christians unanimously
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John because of the
tradition passed down
by the Apostles.
Gnostic Gospels in
Dead Sea Scrolls
: The book claims that the Dead Sea Scrolls contained and affirmed the Gnostic
Gospels. In Actuality, they only contain Jewish writings and Jesus is
never mentioned. Again, this is public information and easy to verify.
• Suppression of Women
One of the themes in The Da Vinci
Code is (sic) that the Gnostic Gospels
promoted equality of women and men and so the Catholic Church opposed
these writings in order to suppress women. The opposite is true.
In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas [Written 140 – 180
AD] Verse 114 states “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.’ ”
• Female goddesses,
Balance, and Peace : The book purports that
(sic) the failure to have female goddess worship in addition to having
male gods3 is the
cause of unbalance as well as the cause of all the violence in the world
today. However, consider that it was the pagans who believed in gods and
goddesses who murdered
Perpetua and Felicity for their Christian beliefs. And also in
contradiction to this theory is the fact that it was the pagans
who promoted ritual prostitution, and prostitution always abuses women and
• ‘Madonna of the Rocks’ – Dan Brown mistakenly states in his book that in Leonardo’s painting the ‘Madonna of the Rocks,’ or more commonly called ‘The Virgin of the Rocks,’ that Saint John the Baptist is blessing Jesus who is kneeling in submission to John. - See links to images below. - However, Dan Brown misunderstands who is who. Mary is guiding St. John the Baptist with her right hand toward her Son who is next to the Angel Uriel. John, although he is closer to Mary, can be identified as such because he is much bigger than child Jesus on account that John is six months older. Cf. Luke 1.
Jesus can also be identified by his hand gesture. It was customary to portray Jesus with the first two index fingers extended from the other ones which are grouped together in the palm. Symbolically, the first two fingers together symbolized His two natures, human and divine, united together in One Person. The symbolic sacredness of these two fingers carried over into the rubics of the Mass. Up until Vatican II the priest was only allowed to touch the Eucharist with these first two index fingers, and of course by necessity his thumb.
The version of the Virgin of the Rocks in London further identified Saint John the Baptist as having a cross shaped walking stick. The cruciform staff was a commonly used motif identifying St. John the Baptist. For example, in Raphael’s Disputation of the Blessed Sacrament John the Baptist is depicted on the right side holding one. Even on top of St. Peter’s Basilica a statue of Christ is in the center and on His right can be seen a statue of Saint John the Baptist holding a cruciform staff and a banner. When Jesus is depicted with a cross it is a real cross, not a walking stick that is cross shaped. If Jesus is shown with a walking staff, it has a shepherd’s hook on top because He is the Good Shepherd.
Virgin of the Rocks, by Leonardo da Vinci, Musée du Louvre, Paris. 100KB
Virgin of the Rocks, by Leonardo da Vinci, Oil on wood. National Gallery, London, UK.
Dan Brown mistakenly states that it was a group of nuns that requested the painting of the Madonna of the Rocks, when it was actually commissioned by the Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception which is a lay Franciscan confraternity of men only.
Brown’s heroine Sophie Neveu is said to have used this painting as a shield by pressing it so close to her body that it bends. There are several problems with this. A simple computer search reveals that this painting is over six feet tall and almost four feet wide. It was originally painted on wood and then later transferred to canvas. It is in a large wooden frame. It is hard to even imagine Sophie picking it up let alone bending it.
The Franciscan brothers seemed to have had a special devotion to Saint John the Baptist, at least they had specifically requested that Leonardo include him in the painting. The Angel Uriel directs Jesus’ attention toward John by pointing to him. Dan Brown says that the angel’s pointed finger refers to a slashing of the throat of a supposedly invisible head held by the Blessed Virgin Mary who is behind the angel.
The pointed finger is not present in the second painting found in London. Its absence can be easily explained in that it probably put to much emphasis on John the Baptist. As for the Angel Uriel’s pointed finger and her intention, the angel is looking toward Jesus and away from Mary’s hand, so it is hard to suppose that the angel is referring to a “head” that Mary is not holding.
“Seek and you shall find.” Matthew 7:7
A mind that is bent on finding evil intentions can find all kinds of conspiracies and evil plots - whether they are really there or not. And God seems to allow us to find what we are looking for, in this life anyway. If a person wants to find a justification for indulging his passions in self-centered ways, he can, at least in his own mind. If a person wants to seek the truth and to value it above his own selfish desires, if a person seeks true repentance and forgiveness from God, he can find that. If a person wants to live in fear, despair, and sin - he can do that. If a person wants to believe in the good, and to live in hope even amidst suffering, God will enable him to do that. People’s lives (and their books) will often reflect what the value and what they seek.
Just Fiction ...
On his FAQ page he states:
Propaganda and fictional works have been known to change societal views even to the point of contributing to great injustices and even to murder.
When he was asked what he would change if his novel were to be rewritten as non-fiction he replied, “Nothing.”
The New York Daily
And The Mystery Reader reported that the “smart suspense novel . . . incorporat[ed] massive amounts of historical and academic information.”
Reuters news organization reported that a British survey revealed that “People are now twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children after reading the Dan Brown blockbuster and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect.”
One example of how the book grossly distorts history is its claim that the Catholic Church burnt 5 million women as witches in the late middle ages. If that had been true, that would have been half of the female population of Europe at that time. It would be hard to imagine the ferocity of what would have been a resulting war of the men for the remaining women.
Actually, contrary to the Black Legend the Spanish Inquisition protected women from the charges of witchcraft. It was required that all inquisitors be lawyers. Lawyers look for evidence and it was obvious to them that these charges were nothing more than hysteria and therefore baseless saving many innocent lives. See more on Spanish Inquisition.
Dan Brown feeds on other people’s fears and exasperates the animosity that they have toward the Church’s teachings.
Some Christians dismiss the need to refute the book because it is reasoned that only those who want to be misled by it would fall for its outlandish claims. However, different people have different strengths and weaknesses.
Those who are tempted to base their decisions on emotions rather than logical truth need to be encouraged and strengthened. The lies that Dan Brown makes about Jesus, history, and the Catholic Church can seem to give one permission to dismiss revealed truth and legitimate authority.
Many people will read the book and or go to the movie thinking that they will be able to sort out for themselves what is true and what is not based on their feelings and without any real disciplined study on their own part.