Book Review: The Da Vinci Code

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Book Review: The Da Vinci Code

Postby jakimbro » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:08 pm

Book Review: the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

In 2004, author Dan Brown wrote a fictional bestseller that is currently listed as the 8th best selling book of all time and which has made him over $280 million dollars. The hero Robert Langdon- American symbologist and art history professor - becomes entangled in an international murder plot that ultimately leads to the discovery of the long lost Holy Grail. It is so well written some say- that Brown MUST be tapping into some forgotten knowledge and others mutter that his blasphemous views have undermined Chrisitianity itself.
However in my view- what he has done is betray and besmirch the hard work of previous scholars on the Grail subject- and that of course- he has gotten the whole Grail legend wrong wrong wrong!

Part one: What IS the Grail?

Before the Twentieth century- one never saw the Grail with its connections with Medieval knights and legends, the most famous of which are the legends of King Arthur. The first Grail legends began as romances sung and told to medieval audiences back in the years bewteen 1180 and 1240 ad. It is a mystic item- a cup or chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Joseph of Arimathea used it to collect Jesus' blood on the cross as He died. Joseph brought it to Great Britian and gave it into the keeping of the Fisher Kings at Carbonek Castle- from whence Sir Galahad and his companions saw it- reaching it after years of questing; after which the sacred vessel was removed to heaven.

It was a plain cup that was said to hold the Holy blood of Jesus- 'the San Greal'- or Holy Dish- that could also be translated as 'Sang Real' Holy Blood. It could heal the sick, cure your wounds feed the hungry and lead to a spiritual enlightenment and personal salvation. It was not confined to Castle Carbonek but could transport itself wherever it was needed and once it appeared to all the Round Table- initiating the Grail Quests. To whit- <i>it was a supernatural item NOT Of This world.</i>

Mary Magdelene- a popular medieval saint also accompained Joseph of Arimethea and the Grail to France-but she is never included in any of the official Authurian romances- not mentioned by Sir Thomas Mallory or by the french writers who came before. Her arrival in France and association with Joesph of Arimethea indeed seems almost an after thought to the Grail legend. A vase was her common attribute and she could bathe others in it- transforming them from a person of shame into a peson of goodness. Legends about her conclude that she spent the last 30 years of her life as a hermit in the desert - clad only in her hair and fed by angels.

Part two: Holy Blood, Holy Grail

The Grail legend might have remained a mysterious story of the Middle ages had it not been for three authors in the 1980s - Micheal Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. While writing a book they called <i>Holy Blood, Holy Grail</i> They studied the Grail and the history of the area of southern France in which it first appeared- and they concluded that the Grail was REAL. It was an analogy they decided for the bloodline of Jesus. That Mary Magdelene was His wife and she was pregnanat with his child at the Crucifiction. She and Joseph fled the area to France- establishing a kingdom based on kings from the blood of Jesus.

The Kingdom they established and the dynasty there of were called the merovingians- and they were considered mystical far beyond the kings of their day. They could cure and heal and turn the land green. A breed of christianity sprng up in this area of France- called Catherism. A peculiar branch of Christianity0 it denied the divinity of Christ and his death on the cross. It was a successful florishing branch of Christianity till the 13th century when the Pope declared a crusade against them and spent 30 years wiping out the Cathers.

It was also the home base of the infamous Knights Templar - who were immensely rich and poweful form adventures in the holy Land and who it is said brought back a secret concerning the Grail. Legends say it was the Templars who guarded the Grail Castle. And in the end they were all betrayed by the French king- rouneded up and executed. The secret of the Grail was lost with them. Or was it?

The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail traced the history of the knights and t eh grail to the 20th century- where it still exists they claimed somewhere in Great Britian. Somewhere they said- a descendant of Jesus still lives!

The authors encounterd a firestorm of scepticism and rebuke and their pseudo historical theories of the Grail would have been forgotten and hated for all time...

Part Three: Best Seller

Enter Dan Brown. He had already written about lost and forgotten societies - specifically the Illumaniti in his first book <i>Angels and demons</i>. So lifting the premise for his new book almost directly from thier book <i>Holy Blood Holy Grail</i>- was a natural thing for him to do. Nearly everything that Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh wrote appeared in the Da Vinci Code. Their book is even mentioned and (SPOILER) the main villian is made of anagram of their names. They were so incised that they started a court case suing Brown - and LOST!

Dan went on to make $280 million dollars.

The book the Da Vinci Code is full of plagurisms and historical fallacies- but it IS a work of fiction. So one should read it as such. Which in and of itself is distrubing- but THEN he equates (SPOILER) Mary Magdelene with the great Goddess and goddess worship that was discovered by Robert Graves in his book <i>'The White Goddess'</i>. The theory is that women once ran everything and everyone worshipped a Mother goddess instead of a male patriachal god. But thanks to the Bible and the Romans and etc- we now have a Patriachal religious system destroying the planet. And according to Brwon- thats what the Grail is- the secret of the Mother goddess. Nevermind that never appears in any Authurian romance. Its also something Jesus never said either.

******************8

By and large the Da Vinci code is a tight little thriller- but its religious facts are skewed- and the betrayal of the authors Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln for their earlier research is inexcusable. Mr. Dan Brown- you made millions off them- you couldn't throw them a scrap for their research?

Mr. Brown is currently working on thriller exposing the Freemasons and Mozart and the US Government. I wonder whom he's ripping off this time?
Jerry Kimbro
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Postby pilvikki » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:34 pm

i rather thought it was a bit like a romance novel, the prequel was more fun, if totally incongruous.
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Postby jakimbro » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:02 am

Brown's first book <i>Angels and Demons</i> was a better book. It really was his own ideas. He even designed the bizarre Illuminati backwards script HIMSELF.

Brown himself is a fascinating guy. You should read the Wikipedia article about him. Basically he's the world's greatest bullshit artist. And he got rich rich rich from the da Vinci code. Right now he's richer than God.

But he's no Twain, no Dickens. He's not even as good as John Irving.
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