Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? Bill Petro your friendly neighborhood historian www.billpetro.com/davinci
The Book • 40 M hardback/6 M paperback sold, • 44 languages • Film by Ron Howard • Popularity: something for everyone
“…Everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false” -British Royal Historian, Sir Leigh Teabing The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
The Story • Murder in front of Mona • Quest for the Grail • Blood of Christ • Person - secret • Secret society • Newton, Victor Hugo, Leonardo Da Vinci
What’s the Big Deal? • It’s just a book! • So what are the dangers?
Issues: • Who was Mary Magdalene? • Was Jesus married? • Is there a group known as Opus Dei? • Was there an ancient Priory of Sion? • What do we know about Constantine? • What happened at the Council of Nicea? • Were other Gnostic/Hidden/Secret Gospels a legitimate expression of Christianity? • What is Gnosticism?
Mary Magdalene • Who was she? • Was she married?
Mary in the “Gospel of Philip” • Gospel of Philip (post AD 250) “And the companion of the […] Mary Magdalene. […loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her […].” • koinonia Koinonia • Notgun gyne • Gospel of Philip 63:33-36 “For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we all kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another.”
Mary in the “Gospel of Mary Magdala” • Gospel of Mary Magdala (post AD 100) • The Debate Levi: “if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed (Peter) to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why He loved her more than us.”
Jesus Married? • Did a Jewish male need to be married? • Did a Rabbi need to be married? • Did he have children?
Is there an Opus Dei? • Yes: www.opusdei.org • Their reaction: http://www.opusdei.org/art.php?w=32&p=7017
Priory of Sion • A secret society since 1099? • A splinter social group founded in 1956?
Who was Constantine? • First “Christian” Roman Emperor • AD 312: Battle of the Milvian Bridge
In this sign, Conquer CRISTOS
What did Constantine do? • AD 313: Edict of Milan • AD 315: Arch of Constantine • AD 325: Council of Nicaea
Council of Nicea • 318 Bishops • 7 weeks • 84 issues
Eusebius: on Nicaea • When all the bishops had entered the place appointed for their session, the sides of which were filled by a great number of seats, each took his place, and awaited in silence the arrival of the Emperor… He appeared as a messenger from God, covered with gold and precious stones - a magnificent figure, tall and slender, and full of grace and majesty. To his majesty he united a great modesty and devout humility, so that he kept his eyes reverently bent upon the golden seat which had been prepared for him when the bishops gave him the signal to do so.
Arianism “There was a time when Christ was not”
Similar vs. Same • HOMOI-OUSIAS OMOI-OUSIAS • similar • HOMO-OUSIASOMO-OUSIAS • same • One “iota”
Nicaean Creed • “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousion) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost… And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion--all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.
Were other (Gnostic) Gospels a legitimate expression of Christianity? • Where were they discovered? • Were they suppressed in the 4th century? • Can they help us understand Jesus?
Nag Hammadi Nag Hammadi
Constantine “paid” for Bibles • Financed scribes to copy 50 copies of the Bible for use in Constantinople • Constantine burned writings of Arius • Eusebius’ list
“Other” Gospels • Nag Hammadi Library, James M. Robinson • The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels • Lost Scriptures, Bart D. Ehrman • The Other Gospels, Ron Cameron • The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Jean-Yves Leloup • The Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas, Ronald F. Hock
“Value” of other Gospels • Writings of Apostolic Fathers & Post-Apostolic Fathers (late 1st, early 2nd Centuries) • Popular third-class literary entertainment (2nd and 3rd Centuries) • Heretical books, especially of a Gnostic nature (2nd – 4th Centuries)
Dates of Gospels • Mark: AD 40 – 65 • Luke: AD 60 – 85 • Matthew: AD 70 – 90 • John: AD 86 – 100
New Testament Canon • Rule, “Ruler” = list • Clement, Bishop of Rome – AD 90 • Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch – AD 115 • Polycarp – AD 155 • Origen – AD 230 • Officially confirmed in its present and final form by the 3rd Council of Carthage in AD 397
“Canon” timeline “4 Gospels” NT: 27 books Against others Mark Luke Matthew John Iraneus Athanasius Origen Nicea Hippo Carthage 100 200 300 400 33 40 60 70 86 203 180 325 397 367 393
NT vs. Antiquities CopiesWrittenEarliest copy • Gallic Wars 10 BC 58 AD 900 • Livy 20 AD 17 AD 300 • Tacitus 12 AD 100 AD 1000 • Thucydides 8 BC 400 AD 900 • NT 5,600 AD 100 AD 140
Why a Canon? • Dealing with Heresy – Doctrine • Reading in Churches – Devotion • Surrendering to Authorities – Persecution
Tests: • Apostolicity: Had been written by an apostle or specifically approved by the apostles. • Acceptance: A history of continuous and widespread approval amongst Christians • Conformity: to the Old Testament scriptures and Apostles’ rule of faith.
How: • Letters from apostles were written and received in churches, copied and circulated • Growing group of books were recognized as inspired Scripture • By end of 1st century all 27 NT books were written and received by the churches
Then: • A generation after the Apostolic Age, every book of the NT had been cited as authoritative by a Church Father • Debates continued into the 4th century, until Athanasius’ Easter letter in AD 367 • Ratified by the Council of Hippo - AD 393,3rd Council of Carthage - AD 397
What was Gnosticism? • Gnosis • Platonic, Neoplatonism • Dualism • Aeons, Archons, Sophia, Demiurge • Christ • Spark of divinity • Guide into Truth and Light
Promise of Modern Gnosticism • Secret knowledge • Salvation without change • Irrelevance of morality • God is within you • …Everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false
DaVinci Code Discussion
Postmodernism • Postmodernism redefines how we do evangelism • Postmodernism asserts we exist in a reality we have constructed • Postmodernism asserts that any one narrative used as meta-narrative is oppressive • We live in a time when there is no ultimate value: • There are many paths to the same destination • All faiths are interchangeable • “What works for me” is more important than some eternal value
Primary longings of Postmoderns • Authenticity • Community • Lack of dogmatism • Cynicism • They respond best to a passionately lived out faith!
How to build the bridge • Be intentional about looking for relationships • Ask questions • Focus on common interests (DaVinci?) • Our stories are important