Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 161:643 (July 2004) p. 366
By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
Matthew S. DeMoss, Editor
Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Ev-eryone’s Asking. By Darrell L. Bock. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004. 198 pp. $19.99.
In this book Bock, research professor of New Testament studies and professor of spiritual development and culture at Dallas Seminary, integrates these disciplines in a critical interaction with the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday, 2003). As a New Testament scholar Bock probes the historical inaccuracies and misleading conclusions that underlie Brown’s depiction of conspiracies within the church that Brown claims have resulted in the truth being hidden. As a professor of Christian spirituality Bock points the reader to Jesus, the source and focus of true spirituality. As a student of culture Bock provides an example of the integration of theology and culture. He masterfully integrates scriptural exegesis, historical theology, and cultural analysis in an instructive and compelling defense of orthodox Christianity.
In his extraordinarily popular best-selling novel Brown tells a tale of intrigue, mystery, and suspense, set within a classic power struggle. In Brown’s story the Roman Catholic Church has suppressed the facts that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that they had children together, and that this family fled to France. According to Brown these and other stories from many ancient sources have been marginalized and silenced to suit the agenda of the Catholic Church.
Why respond to such a work at all? After all, some might say, The Da Vinci Code is only fiction. And will not further publicity fuel the public interest in Brown’s novel, thereby resulting in more people reading the work? Is it not better to leave it alone and hope that it will “go away.” Bock responds to these questions in an introductory chapter. He correctly explains that the novel itself purports to be based on historical facts and is thus a mixture of fiction and nonfiction. Readers, particularly those sympathetic toward Christianity, without sufficient historical knowledge could use some help in discerning truth from speculation and error. Furthermore it is unlikely that this book could be much more popular than it already is. But perhaps more importantly these objections seem to be based on a dangerous assumption that theology and popular culture are completely disconnected. The sensational success of Brown’s novel shows that there is no wall of separation between religion and “real life” in popular culture. Brown’s theological perspective is being widely disseminated in his novel.
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