Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Da Vinci Code

Other than the infringement claims of Lewis Perdue which concern archetypes and arrangement of ideas, plot points and structure similarities, I find ridiculous, the claims that Dan Brown says his book is actual true history. In other words this actually ocurred as he writes it. It's fiction and has elements of historical truth in the form of relics i.e. texts, the paintings, Dead Sea Scrolls, interpretation of Constantine's role on the Catholic Church, secret societies and lineage of Jesus and so on are factual but none of it leads to a conclusive verdict. It's speculation as novels frequently are. What's the crime in this? I'm afraid classic blasphemy charge heard all the way through history. There's nothing more to it than that.

The truth as this inquiry purports really requires hair-plitting that is the essence of history writing. I found the first example to be reading too much into a statement of novel dialogue. "The pagans and Christians were warring for years. Constantine picked the winning side." The Da Vinci Code. Only one side, Rome was doing the warring on a small sect says Prof. Erhman. Sure, but he still converted as a move of diplomacy. Which is where Brown goes in his church conspiracy. History requires an adversion to ultimate conclusion that a novelist can't afford.

No side can prove divinity. You can't prove a negative. The logical conclusion if Jesus was a human with an important political philosophy and movement who was killed for it. The Divine is indeed a human concoction, but I'm not surprised that believers want to take it out on Brown's shoddy research, after making him a multi-millionaire. Fiction is speculation. So is theology.


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