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Notes on Understanding of The Da Vinci Code

Dr Alex Tang

I.                   The Book

Dan Brown in his best selling novel made certain assumptions about the belief and authority of Christianity. It is our intention to disagree with Mr. Brown and to inform his readers that the some of the  allergation he has published in his book are wrong.

II.                The Assumptions

Underlying the story is the Guest for the Holy Grail

a.       Secret Societies

b.      Mary Magdalene and Jesus

c.       Gnosticism and the Bible

d.      Rescuing Leonardo da Vinci 

III.             The Plot

The Da Vinci Code Plot[1]

The Da Vinci Code begins with the death of Jacques Sauniere, curator of the Louvre in Paris, by an assassin who later turns out to be huge albino monk named Silas, who is part of Opus Dei. While dying, Sauniere manages to leave a cryptic message on the museum floor. He writes the name Robert Langdon. Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor in Paris giving a talk at the American University. Landon’s name on the floor makes him suspect number one for French police. Paris police captain Bezu Fache, suspects Langdon is the Jacques Sauniere’s murderer, and he brings Langdon to the crime scene.

Later, at the crime scene, agent Sophie Neveu a cryptographer and the secret estranged granddaughter of Jacques Sauniere, arrives, knowing they suspect Robert Langdon, she helps him escape from the Paris police. After escaping from police, they begin a journey searching for meaning behind her grandfather’s final message, racing to find  ‘Secret documents’ before the Catholic Church destroys them. While hiding in the Louvre, before their escape, Robert Langdon explains to Sophie about Leonardo Da Vinci, painter of the Mona Lisa, how he was secretly part of an organization. The Priory of Sion is a secret organization responsible for preserving the truth about the ‘Real Jesus’. (Page 113)

The Church wanted to eliminate the Sacred Feminine, the Goddess aspect, and maintain a

patriarchal system (Page 46,116) Professor Langdon informs Sophie,

But Leonardo Da Vinci in his artwork preserved the Sacred Feminine or Goddess worship---(Page 113)

Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Boticelli were all Grand Masters in the Priory of Sion they were responsible for preserving the True identity of Jesus to be released in the future. (Page 113)

During their escapes from the museum, Professor Langdon explains to Sophie about the so called Holy Grail documents, the Sangreal, found under the Temple-Mount by Godefroi de Bouillon in 1099 when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem. These documents Brown claims reveal the Holy Grail is not a chalice cup used at the last supper but Mary Magdalene herself, who preserved Jesus’ royal family line before he died on the cross. The organization founded by succeeding knights known as the Knights Templar was given unlimited powers by Popes, and they lived in Solomon’s Stables under the Temple mount site 

Brown claims they found thousands of documents proving Jesus’ real identity and his

relationship with Mary Magdalene, these documents made them very powerful, to the point where the Pope Clement V and France’s King Philippe IV destroyed them and confiscated their property on Friday 13th, October 13076. These documents, known as the Sangreal escaped destruction and are in hiding, with only the Priory of Sion having knowledge of their location.

Robert and Sophie find refuge in the estate of Royal British historian, Sir Leigh Teabing, he confirms the words of Landon, and adds the following to the innocent Sophie.

Teabing, continues,

 “The Bible is a product of man my dear. Not God” (Page 231)

“More then 80 gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a few were

Chosen” (Page 231)

 Constantine held a gathering known as the council of Nicea….(325 A.D.) Until that moment in history Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet… not the Son of God. (Page 233)

“Fortunately for historians… some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950’s hidden in a cave near Qumran …and of course the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hamadi”… (Page 234)

“I shan’t bore you with the countless references to Jesus and Magdalene’s Union ….Magdalene was recast as a whore in order to erase evidence of her powerful family

ties” (Pages 247,249)

They leave the Teabing’s Estate and head toward England on Teabing’s personal jet, evading French Police…On the Jet Sophie explains why she was estranged from her Grandfather…Sophie explains to Robert Langdon how she came one day to surprise her grandfather at his country estate..and found him in the center of the room, surrounded by people, having sexual intercourse….Langdon calms her and explains...

 “Hieros Gamos…it means sacred marriage. Physical union with the female remained the sole means...man...can achieve gnosis..” (Pages 308-309)

Teabing, Sophie and Professor Langdon arrive in England and fail to find the thousands of pages of evidence…proving Jesus ‘true identity’ .But Langdon explains to Sophie about faith and religion…

“The New Testament is based on fabrications …every faith is…based on fabrications…Jesus was not born of a literal virgin birth….Those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical” (Pages 341-342)

Sir Isaac Newton was not a secret ‘Goddess Worshipper’. Yet it is well known that he was a devout Christian …who wrote a commentary on the book of Daniel and Revelation and calculated the physical return of Christ between the years 2000 and 2050.

 

IV.              The Truth and Myths

 

a.      Secret Societies

·        What is the Priory of Sion ?

Priory of the Sion is supposed to be a secret society dating back to 1099 entrusted with keeping of secret documents about Jesus. What these secret documents shows is that the concept of a Holy Grail is about the lineage from the Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene to the Merovingian dynasty in the Dark Ages in France until the present. The French word sangraal ( Holy Grail) is actually sang (blood) and raal (royal). Hence Mary Magdalene is the sangraal, carrying the royal blood line of Jesus. This secret society also controls the Knights Templar with their military prowess and enormous fortunes in protecting this secret. Brown also implies that the Templar are secret cult goddess worshippers as evidenced by the architecture of their churches and castles.

 

There were three known priory of sions.

·        The First was a Roman Catholic monastic order founded in Jerusalem at the monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Zion in about 1100 AD. This order ceased to exist in 1617 when it was absorbed by the Jesuits.

·        The Second is founded in 1954 and can be traced to Frenchman Pierre Plantard (1920-2000). Plantard and three other men started a small social club in 1954 called the Priory of Sion, taking the name from a nearby mountain. Their club dissolved in 1957, but Plantard held on to the name.

·        The third was founded in the early 1962. He tried to establish himself as the King of France. Throughout the 1960’s and the 1970’s Plantard created a series of documents ‘proving’ the existence of a bloodline descending from Mary Magdalene, through the kings of France, down to the present day to include ---(surprise!) Pierre Plantard. He began using the name Plantard de Saint-Clair, saying the Saint-Clairs were direct descendents of the line of Jesus and Mary.

In 1993, Plantard’s name came up in light of a political scandal involving a close friend of then French president Francois Mitternad. Plantard had, in one of his lists of the Priory of Sion, listed Roger-Patrice Pelat as a Grand master. When called before the court to testify, Plantard, under oath, admitted he had made up the whole Priory scheme. The court ordered a search of Plantard’s house, which revealed further documents that proclaimed Plantard to be the true king of France. The judge gave Plantard a stern warning and dismissed him as a harmless crank.

n Documents forged by Pierre Plantard deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale (National Library) in Paris.

n Les Dossier Secrets d’Henri Lobineau (The Secret Records of Henri Lobineau)

n False report created in 1967 by Plantard and his associates,

            n The full title includes the name of ‘Henri Lobineau’,

 

Dan Brown relies on 1982 publication, Holy Blood, Holy Grail [2]as the source of his information on the Priory of Sion. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail based their research on documents provided by Pierre Plantard. Pierre Plantard, an anti-Semitic Frenchman who was jailed for fraud in 1953. Instead of  being discouraged by this, the authors followed up their theory by writing another book, The Messianic Legacy.[3]

 

Les Dossier Secret

The 'Dossiers Secrets'  were forged and filed with the Bibliothèque

Nationale in Paris by Pierre Plantard in the 1960s. The French journalist Jean-Luc Chaumeil unmasked Plantard's imposture in the 1980s and published several books on the subject. He also collaborated with BBC2 on a TV programme which was broadcast in 1996, and which presented evidence demolishing the whole story. But it would seem that Dan Brown has not taken any account of this.

The novelist has also not hesitated to make his heroine Sophie Neveu the descendant of the families Plantard and Saint-Clair (a name that Pierre Plantard adopted in 1975), who themselves were descended fromthe Merovingians, and who are presented in the novel as the descendants of the marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene...

The whole basis of the Da Vinci Code is based on a hoax created by Pierre Plantard.

·        The Knights Templar

The oldest of the military-religious order, the Knights Templar were founded in 1118 to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. Their rule was attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux was approved in 1128 and they were given land in Europe for support. Made redundant after the last crusader stronghold fell in 1291, they became bankers. There are a lot of myths surrounding the Knights Templar. They are not involved in goddess worship. Brown wrote that they were destroyed by Pope Clement V when they tried to blackmail him with the truth about the Grail secret. Actually they were destroyed by King Philip the Fair of France on Friday 13, 1307 who were after their wealth. The order was abolished in 1312. Sinclair suggest that the Templars link up with the Masons in Scotland[4].

 

·        Opus Dei[5]

Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by Spanish priest Josemaria Eschiva promoting a return to conservative Catholicism and asking its members to sacrifice for God’s work.  Its basis is on a book by Sciva, Spiritual Considerations (Dan Brown called it The Way) which gave 999 points of meditation to do God’s work in one’s daily life.

Was involved in some sandals:

(i)                  some group in a university was caught drugging recruit with mescaline to enhance the euphoria of their spiritual experiences.

(ii)                FBI spy Robert Hansen was a prominent member but has deviant sexual practices.

Strongly supported by Pope John Paul II.  Josemaria Eschiva was canonised.

Its members consist of clergy and laypeople. They are not monks and do not wear robes. They do not employ albino assassins.

 

b.      Mary Magdalene and Jesus

·        Mary/Mariam was named after the Jewish prophetess of OT (Ex.15:20-21). Magdalene is not her last name. People at that time was named after the place they are from. Magdala is a tiny fishing village on the northwest corner of the sea of Galilee.

·        Mary was first mentioned in Lk.8:1-3. LK 8:1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

·        She is not mentioned in the earliest gospel (Mark), second earliest gospel (Matthew) and  in John, prior to the passion week[6]. We are told that she is a follower of Jesus and a person from whom Jesus has cast out seven demons.

·        According to Mk.15:40-41, a group of women watched the crucifixion from afar and Mariam Magdala was mentioned. In 15:41 all the disciples has deserted except the three women: Mariam Magdala, Mariam, mother of Jesus and Salome. Mk 15:47 mentioned that the two Mariams saw where Jesus was buried. In Mk. 16 told of the women finding the empty tomb. Jn 20 showed Mariam Magdala meeting Jesus.

·        The Greek fathers distinguish that there are three separate person:

1.      the ‘sinner’ of Luke 7:36-50

2.      Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus

3.      Mary Magdalen whom Jesus drove out seven demons.

·        At the end of the sixth century, Pope Gregory 1 in his famous Homily 33, grouped Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany and the ‘sinful’ woman from Luke’s gospel into one person.

·        Subsequent history of Mary Magdalene

1.      The Greek tradition maintains that she went to Ephesus with Jesus’ mother and died there. Her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886.

2.      The French tradition said that she went to Marseilles and converted the whole of  Provence. Then she retire to a life of penance on  a hill, La Sainte-Baume for thirty years and then she died. Her shrine was found in 1279 when a convent was being erected at La Sainte-Baume. Her relics is still in the church of La Sainte-Baume.

·        Recent discoveries:

1.      Gospel of Mary. The Gospel of Mary is found in a 5th century papyrus book in 1896. It was published in 1955.

a.       Portray her as a favoured disciple of Jesus.

b.      She calms the other disciples when they are afraid and gave them special teachings which she received from Jesus alone.

c.       Jesus knew her completely and love her more than all the other disciples.

d.      Have conflict which Peter who is jealous of her and who refused to believe that Jesus have given her special teachings.

e.       Acknowledges the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection but denied that it is the way to eternal life.

f.        Reject the resurrected body, insisting that only the soul can be saved.

g.       Legitimatise women’s leadership in the church.

h.       She is to lead the church.

“The Gospel of Mary lets us see that by making Mary Magdalene into a repentant prostitute, the leaders of the Church could achieve two aims at once. They succeed both in undermining appeals to Mary Magdalene to support women’s leadership, and at the same time they were able to undermine the kind of theology being promoted in her name- theology which the Church Fathers condemned as heresy.”[7]

 

·        After the other apostles under Peter turned again her, Mary fled to Provence, where the medieval Cathars kept Jesus’ teachings alive.

One particularly troubling theme kept recurring in the [Gnostic] gospels. Mary Magdalene...More specifically, her marriage to Jesus Christ (Davinci Code..Pg. 244)

·        The basis Brown uses for this claim is the Gnostic Gospels, specifically The Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Phillip but neither contain any mention of Jesus’ marriage to Mary, nor do any of the Gnostic Gospels.

·        Why is Jesus not married?[8]

1.      It is suggested that all rabbi were married. Though the disciples called him rabbi, Jesus is not a rabbi.

2.      the call to be celibate for the kingdom appears to be rooted in Jesus’ commitment and example not to marry (Matt. 19:10-12).

3.      Traditions encouraging single life, eg Jewish sect of Essenes.

 

·        Church manipulation of history

1.      The church did not bury any mention of Mary Magdalene. She has her own feast day- 22 July.

2.      She didn’t come from the tribe of Benjamin.

c.       Gnosticism and the Bible

·        Response to what the book character, Teasing said about the Dead Sea scrolls and the Nag Hammadi sources:

1.      Constantine did not attempt to eradicate any of the earlier gospels

2.      The Dead Sea scrolls do not contain any Gospels, or in fact any documents that speak of Christ or Christianity at all; they are Jewish

3.      Their initial discovery was in 1947, not the 1950s

4.      The Coptic documents at Nad Hammadi were in book form, they are not scrolls (an important distinction for the history of early Christian books)

5.      Neither these nor the Dead Sea scrolls ever speak of the Grail story

6.      Nor do they speak of Jesus’ ministry “in very human terms”; if anything, Jesus is portrayed as more divine in the nag Hammadi sources than he is in the Gospels of the New Testament

7.      The Vatican has nothing to do with the covering up of either of these discoveries.[9]

·        The Dead Sea scrolls is about Jewish lifestyle. It has not reference to Christianity. It may be related to a sect named Essense.

·        In December 1945 near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, a peasant came across scrolls and texts, dating back to the fourth century. They included poems, myths, mysticism and what some call the ‘Secret Gospels’, a total of 46 different works.[10]

1.      The Gospel of Thomas

a.       Thomas the twin

b.      True knowledge is about transcending the divisions in our own human nature.

c.       The kingdom is already here.

d.      Split personalities  recombined (saying 22)

e.       Making Mary male (saying 114)

2.      The Gospel of Philip

a.       Preserves a collection of Valentinian theological concepts.

b.      Several sayings and stories about Jesus

c.       Used baptism and eucharist but with different meaning.

d.      Mentions ‘bridal chamber’. The reuniting the ‘feminine’ spirits of human beings with the ‘masculine’ spirits.

·        The Gospel of Philip says that “the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” …As any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion in those days, literally meant spouse. (Da Vinci Code page 246)

The manuscript that contains the Gospel of Philip is worn in places, having a number of holes where the words are, therefore missing. This has affected on passage in particular:

a.       The companion of the [gap in manuscript] Mary Magdelene [gap] more than [gap] the disciples [gap] kiss her [gap] n her [gap].[11]

2.      The Gospel of Truth

a.       Valentinus developed a modified of Gnostic myth which is more explicitly Christian but still not orthodox.

b.      It is presented in a parable form.

c.       There is a masculine Father, Primal Depth (bythos) and a feminine Silence (sige). Together they emanate Intellect (nous) and Truth (aletheia). The four together emanante four pairs: Word(logos)and Life (zoe); Man (antropos) and Church (ekklesia). Although there were 30 pairs which form the Pleroma. Sophia was the last of the aeons and was separated from the pleoroma by a boundary. The pleoroma emanate Christ and the Holy Spirit to try to bring Sophia into the pleoroma.

3.      The Gospel of the Egyptians

a.       The mythic story begins with a perfect realm of a Divine parent but it grows enormously complex with aeons as gods and demigods each with different personalities and responsibilities.

b.      A being named Seth becomes the origin and then savior of a perfect race to which the Gnostics belong.

c.       Baptism is more than a ritual, it is an experience designed to open one up to a transcendent experience.

d.      Include the use of magical texts and incantations as a means of accessing the Divine.

4.      The Apocalypse of Peter

5.      The Apocalypse of Paul

6.      The Letter of Peter to Philip

7.       The Thunder, Perfect Mind

8.      Testimony of Truth

The texts reject the Genesis account of creation, the Creator God is mocked as a blind fool. He is called the Demiurge, the lesser God. Teabing refers to these as Gnostic gospels.

·        Gnosticism is a broad range of religions around Christianity in the second and third centuries. Gnosis means true knowledge. There are many differences between them but some similarities are:

1.      The world. Physical world is evil. Spirit is good.

2.      The divine realm. The true God is spirit. In the past God generates offsprings (aeons) which themselves in pair generates other offsprings. One of these offsprings called Sophia, a feminine being became separated from the rest and spontaneously generated another divine being. This being is evil (demiurge). With other minons (archons) which came into existence, he created the material world and imprisoned Sophia.

3.      Humans. Sophia was imprisoned as a divine spark I the bodies of some humans. These humans long to escape this world. Those who do not have the divine spark dies like animals.

4.      Salvation. Only by liberating knowledge (gnosis)

5.      The church. Only those who have the divine spark will be saved.

6.      The divine redeemer. The knowledge must come from outside. For Christian Gnostics, Christ is the one who brings the knowledge.

a.       A divine beings that looks human but is not

b.      A divine being that comes into a body of a man Jesus when he was baptised and then left the body when he died.

·        Other Gnostic gospels

1.      The Infancy Gospel of Thomas

2.      The Gospel of Peter

·        The earliest Christian writings are those of the apostle Paul which was written around 50-60 AD. The Gospels of the NT were probably written between 70-95 AD.

·        Justin Marytr was writing a defence of Christianity in the second half of the second century. In it he referred to a group of books he called the ‘memiors of the apostles.’ About the same time, Marcion taught that the Old Testament God is different from the New Testament God. OT’s God represent law and wrath while the NT’s God represent love. Marcion rejected OT and Matthew, Mark, Acts and Hebrews. He was excommunicated and the idea of a Scriptural canon arises. In 180 AD, Irenaeus in his defence Against Heresy claimed that there is only four gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

·        Mid to late second century, Montanus claimed to have a new revelation from God. Church beginning formalising the canon of the Bible around 190 AD. Criteria for inclusion are

1.      Ancient

2.      Apostolic

3.      Catholic

4.      Orthodox

·        This is the Muratorian Canon which is similar to the present day Bible except it includes the Revelation of Peter and the Wisdom of Solomon. In 367 AD Athanasius listed the 27 books of the NT.

 

Jesus become God?

·        Kyrios, Gk Lord was taken over by the Christians for use as Yahweh. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which predates Christ uses the word kyrios only for Yahweh.[12]

·        The earliest Christian book, the Didache which scholars agree is no later than 100 AD already refers to Jesus as kyrios.

·        Justin Martyr, a second century church leader baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit-acknowledging the equality of the three persons of the Trinity.

·        The Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) was not a close vote, 300 bishops from throughout the Empire arrived to discuss the Arius, teaching that the Son was created, and therefore not God incarnate, the vote was 300 to 2…not close at all. Arius did not believe the Son was mortal but the first of creation.

·        The Divinity of Christ

1.      John’s Gospel

a.       6 times he said “I am”

                                                                                                                           i.      Woman at well (4:26)

                                                                                                                         ii.      Frightened disciples (6:20)

                                                                                                                        iii.      Pharisees (8:24,28)

                                                                                                                       iv.      Jewish opponents (8:58)

                                                                                                                         v.      Disciples again (13:19)

                                                                                                                       vi.      Those who arrested him (18:5,8)

b.      7 signs

                                                                                                                           i.      Water into wine (2:7-11)

                                                                                                                         ii.      Heals official’s son (4:43-54)

                                                                                                                        iii.      Heals on Sabbath at Bethesda (5:1-19)

                                                                                                                       iv.      Feeding the 5 thousands (6:1-14)

                                                                                                                         v.      Heals man born blind (9:1-7)

                                                                                                                       vi.      Raising Lazarus (11:1-45)

                                                                                                                      vii.      Appearing to 7 disciples (21:1-14)

 

2.      Paul’s epistles

 

d.      Rescuing Leonardo da Vinci

·        Leonardo da Vinci is not a grandmaster of the Priory of Sion.

·        Leonardo (1452-1519) is a jack of all trade and master of all.

1.      artist

a.       sfumato (deliberate blurring of lines)

b.      contapposto (the twisting of one part of the body away from another part)

c.       applying proportion to painting

2.      military and civil engineer

a.       submarine

b.      armoured tanks

c.       hull rammer for battleship

d.      rapid fire crossbow

e.       33 barreled machine gun that can fire 11 shots simultaneously

3.      scientist

a.       plants

b.      geology and palaeontology

c.       astronomy – heliocentric theory

d.      flying machines, if you can’t fly, then float-parachute

4.      mechanical engineer and inventor (no bicycle)

a.       dredging canals

b.      cranes

c.       watercraft

d.      Arno river diverging project

5.      architect and city planner

6.      philosopher and thinker

·        Problem is he does not finish what he has started. There are about 15-20 paintings he has completed, some of it s collaboration work.

·        Notebooks: mirror writing or code?

·        Vitruvian man: divine proportion.

1.      Based on ancient Roman architect Vitruvius and his 10 volumes De Architecture: The Planning of Temples written at the close of the first century.

a.       The planning of temples depend on symmetry

b.      The symmetry must be absed on the perfect porportio of the human body:

                                                                                                                           i.      The human body has certain fixed proportions.

1.      four fingers make one palm

2.      the face from the chin to the top f the forehead is a tenth of a person’s height.

3.      the foot is a sixth of the height of the body

4.      the palm of the hand from the wrist to the top of the middle finger is also a tenth part

5.      the greatest width of the shoulders is a fourth of the body’s height

6.      the navel is the exact center of the body

7.      the length of a person’s outspread arms is equal to his or her height

                                                                                                                         ii.      If a person lies on his back with outspread hands and feet, and the center of a circle is placed on his navel, his fingers and toes will touch the circumference of the circle.

·        Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre version, c.1483-86)(Burstein 2004; Teisch and Barr 2005)

In 1483, Leonardo was commissioned to paint an altar piece for the chapel of the Immacolata at the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. When Leonardo did not mean the deadlines, two lawsuits occurred. He did finish it and gave it to King Louis XII. He later painted another. The commission was unusual because Jesus and John the Baptist is rarely together in the same painting.

1.      version #1

a.       use of shadows to show those people in the dark were unenlightened.

b.      The dark cave represent knowledge and may be due to the legend that a mountain opened up to shelter the holy family. The distant rocks represent a spiritual world

c.       The columbine beside the Virgin’s face shows love for the Holy Spirit, Saint-John’s worth symbolises martyr’s blood and ivy suggest chastity and fidelity. The palm in the foreground evokes peace, blood read anemones, the flower of death, prophesies the crucifixion.

2.      version #2

a.       inclusion of St. John’s reed cross and presence of halos.

b.      Angel’s lack of sexuality

3.      Brown’s interpretation

a.       Two babies-who is Jesus and who is John

b.      Jesus paying homage to John

c.       Mary’s hand like holding a crown and Uriel’s hand making a ‘cutting motion’. Implies someone’s crowned head should be there.

d.      John is superior to Jesus

·        Mona Lisa (1503)

1.      Brown interpretation:

a.       Mona Lisa is not an androgynous portrait representing the fusion of male and female (p. 120) Mona Lisa is a young Florentine woman who in 1495 married the well-known figure, Francesco del Giocondo, and thus came to be known as ``La Gioconda'. This is confirmed by the discovery of documentation in Florence, Italy archives. She had five children and two became nuns.

b.      Her name is not as Brown suggested an anagram of two Egyptian fertility gods, Ammon and L’isa (Italian for Isis). Mona actually means Monna or Madonna which in this context means ‘Italian lady.’

c.       Brown also implied that Leonardo painted his self portrait into the painting as he is gay.

d.      The background is not even with the left higher. Left is for the sacred feminine thus saying that the feminine is superior.

2.      Leonardo’s art

a.       Use of his special techniques.

b.      Use of pyramidal design

c.       Background is uneven. Imaginary landscape. Probably he never finished the painting and someone else painted in the background.

d.      Smiling or mocking

·        The Last Supper

In the 1940s, Leonardo’s patron, Ludovico Storza decided to reconstruct renovate Milan’s Dominican Church and Convent by building a new wall in the refectory. He asked Leonardo to paint a fresco on the east wall of the last supper. Instead of using the usual technique, which require the artist to finish a section in one day, Leonardo introduced his own technique which require him to paint at leisure. The painting began to deteriorate immediately after he finished it.

1.      Emphasis

a.       Normal Last Supper paintings emphasis on the Eucharist

b.      Leonardo want to capture the moment when Jesus said “one of you will betray me”

2.      Brown’s interpretation[13]

a.       Suggest that the character next to Jesus is not John but Mary Magdalene. Mary is sitting in the most important position which is next to Jesus.

b.      Peter’s hand is slicing through the air in a menacing way to ‘Mary Magdalene’ could indicate Peter’s rivalry with Mary for an important place in the movement after Jesus is gone.

c.       The 45-degree angled space between Jesus and ‘Mary’ suggest an archetypal symbol for the chalice, vagina, womb or female sexuality.

d.      The is no chalice on the table

e.       The line that outlines Jesus and ‘Mary’ traces the shape of a M. M stands for Mary Magdalene or matrimony. Did know Leonardo knows English.

f.        The garments worn by Jesus and ‘Mary’ are mirror. image of each other. The blue color denote spiritual love, fidelity and truth. Red and blue are seen as the royal color suggesting royal blood theme between Mary (house of Benjamin) and Jesus (house of David).

g.       Disembodied hand holding a knife.

3.      Leonardo’s art

a.       The spotlight on the revelation that one of them will betray him.

b.      He lined up the characters and make the face front so that you can see their reactions.

c.       Judas is in deep shadow and has his hand over a dish-both signs of guilt.

d.      John is sitting stiff with shock

e.       Organised characters into teams

                                                                                                                           i.      Bartholomew, James the Less, Andrew

                                                                                                                         ii.      Judas, Peter, John

                                                                                                                        iii.      Jesus

                                                                                                                       iv.      Thomas, Jame the Major, Philip

                                                                                                                         v.      Matthew, Thaddeus, Simon

f.        Jesus points to bread and wine introducing the Eucharist.

g.       If Mary Magdalene is there, where is John?

Much of Brown’s argument centers around da Vinci’s Last Supper, a painting the author considers a coded message that reveals the truth about Jesus and the Grail. Brown points to the lack of a central chalice on the table as proof that the Grail isn’t a material vessel. But da Vinci’s painting specifically dramatizes the moment when Jesus warns, “One of you will betray me” (John 13:21). There is no Institution Narrative in St. John’s Gospel. The Eucharist is not shown there. And the person sitting next to Jesus is not Mary Magdalene (as Brown claims) but St. John, portrayed as the usual effeminate da Vinci youth, comparable to his St. John the Baptist. Jesus is in the exact center of the painting, with two pyramidal groups of three apostles on each side. Although da Vinci was a spiritually troubled homosexual, Brown’s contention that he coded his paintings with anti-Christian messages simply can’t be sustained.[14]

 

V.                 Conclusion

·        While the whole emphasis is on Mary Magdalene and her connection with goddess worship, Brown missed an important point. It is another Mary, the mother of Jesus who with incredible durability commands devotion to her similar to those of the ‘goddess’ Athena in the ancient world.[15]

 

VI.              References Cited

Allen, J. L. (2005). Opus Dei: Secrets and Power inside the Catholic Church. London, Allen Lane.

Baigent, M., R. Leigh, et al. (1982). Holy Blood, Holy Grail. New York, Dell Publishing.

Baigent, M., R. Leigh, et al. (1986). The Messianic Legacy. New York, Dell Publishing.

Bock, D. L. (2003). "Was Jesus Married?"   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/135/story_13520.html.

Bock, D. L. (2004). Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson.

Burstein, D., Ed. (2004). Secrets of the Code: Unauthorised Guide to the Mysteries behind the Da Vinci Code. London, Orion Books.

Ehrman, B. D. (2004). Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Hansen, C. (2003). "Breaking the Da Vinci Code."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/hisotry/newsletter/2003/nov7.html.

Karayan, P. "Debunking the Da Vinci Code."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.truthnet.org/davinci.

King, K. (2003). "Letting Mary Magdalene Speak."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/131/story_13186.html.

Miesel, S. (2003). "Dismantling the Da Vinci Code." Crisis  Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.crisismagazine.com/september2003/feature1.htm.

Mitchell, M. M. (2003). "Cracking the Da Vinci Code." Sightings  Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/sightings/archive_2003/0924.shtml.

Sinclair, A. (2005). Rosslyn: The Story of Rosslyn Chapel and the True Story behind the Da Vinci Code. Edinburgh, Birlinn Limited.

Teisch, J. and T. Barr (2005). Da Vinci for Dummies. Hoboken, NY, Wiley Publishing.

WitheringtonIII, B. "Mary, Mary, Extraordinary."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/135/story_13503.html.


 

[1] This summary of the plot is from  Karayan, P. "Debunking the Da Vinci Code."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.truthnet.org/davinci.

[2] Baigent, M., R. Leigh, et al. (1982). Holy Blood, Holy Grail. New York, Dell Publishing.

[3] Baigent, M., R. Leigh, et al. (1986). The Messianic Legacy. New York, Dell Publishing.

[4] Sinclair, A. (2005). Rosslyn: The Story of Rosslyn Chapel and the True Story behind the Da Vinci Code. Edinburgh, Birlinn Limited.

[5] Allen, J. L. (2005). Opus Dei: Secrets and Power inside the Catholic Church. London, Allen Lane.

[6] WitheringtonIII, B. "Mary, Mary, Extraordinary."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/135/story_13503.html.

[7] King, K. (2003). "Letting Mary Magdalene Speak."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/131/story_13186.html. Even as a feminist, Karen King has some problem with The Gospel of Mary which reject the body as feminist theology affirms the dignity of the human body.

[8] Bock, D. L. (2003). "Was Jesus Married?"   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.beliefnet.com/story/135/story_13520.html.

[9] Ehrman, B. D. (2004). Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. Oxford, Oxford University Press. P.26

[10] Bock, D. L. (2004). Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson. P61

[11] Ehrman, B. D. (2004). Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. Oxford, Oxford University Press.p.178

[12] Hansen, C. (2003). "Breaking the Da Vinci Code."   Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/hisotry/newsletter/2003/nov7.html.

[13] Burstein, D., Ed. (2004). Secrets of the Code: Unauthorised Guide to the Mysteries behind the Da Vinci Code. London, Orion Books.

[14] Miesel, S. (2003). "Dismantling the Da Vinci Code." Crisis  Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://www.crisismagazine.com/september2003/feature1.htm.

[15] Mitchell, M. M. (2003). "Cracking the Da Vinci Code." Sightings  Retrieved 17/04/06, from http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/sightings/archive_2003/0924.shtml.

 

|posted 20 May 2006|                                                                                                                          Soli Deo Gloria

 

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