The Da Vinci Code Phenomenon: A Brief Overview and Response -- By: J.B. Hixson

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 17:33 (Autumn 2004)
Article: The Da Vinci Code Phenomenon: A Brief Overview and Response
Author: J.B. Hixson


The Da Vinci Code Phenomenon:
A Brief Overview and Response

J.B. Hixson

Assistant Academic Dean
College of Biblical Studies
Houston, Texas

I. Introduction

Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code,1 gives a fictional account of a Harvard researcher named Robert Langdon. In the story, Langdon is called upon to analyze Leonardo Da Vinci’s work and decode its hidden mysteries. What he uncovers is an elaborate scheme of secret societies, religious conspiracies, and centuries old cover ups. His investigation does not sit well with the religious establishment and he quickly becomes a marked man. So goes the plot of this entertaining and influential novel.

Dan Brown’s novel has generated no shortage of analysis. To date, the Code has been cracked, broken, solved, decoded, exposed, scrutinized, dismantled and otherwise deftly refuted in at least thirteen published books and hundreds more electronic articles on various websites.2

Both evangelical Protestants as well as conservative Roman Catholic scholars have united to reject the myths put forth in The Da Vinci Code. At the same time, however, this national best seller has received widespread acclaim and become a cultural phenomenon. What is all the fuss about?

At a time when the distinction between truth and error is becoming increasingly blurred, books such as this one find a ready and willing audience. The pervasive pluralism that characterizes postmodernity usually leads to the creation of truth rather than the declaration of it. Such is the case with The Da Vinci Code. Although it is a novel, it has been hailed for its “historical accuracies.” Without taking the time to verify the radical claims of this novel, naïve readers are increasingly accepting its truth claims. Major media outlets have presented documentaries on the “real Jesus.” Enlightened liberal professors are telling their students that Brown may be on to something. And all the while an unwitting and ill-equipped culture is being duped.

The problem is the alleged historical accuracies are at odds with the only true source of absolute truth: God’s Word. Defending his book, Brown claims, “One of the many qualities that makes The Da Vinci Code unique is the factual nature of the story. All the history, artwork, ancient documents, and secret rituals in the novel are accurate as are the hidden codes revealed in some of Da Vinci’s most famous paintings.”

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