The Da Vinci Code: Historical Revisionism as Fiction.
May 12th, 2006 Administrator-->
By Peter Gimpel.
(Page numbers refer to the “First Anchor Books Mass Market Edition.”)
Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is a historical first. Traditionally, lies, disinformation and other deceptive devices were foisted on a naive public under the unambiguous guise of factual and historical truth. Conversely, writers of historical fiction expended much time and effort in order to ensure that their fictional plot lines dovetailed seamlessly with established historical fact or plausible hypothesis. In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown wantonly “revises” history in order to meet the demands of his fictional plot. Since the plot is premised on the inflammatory claim that the Church has deliberately suppressed and vitiated the genuine message of Jesus, the result is a kind of new-age Protocols of the Elders of Zion that is virtually impervious to exposure as a work of base propaganda. “Come on, now: it’s just fiction!” says Dan Brown. “Yes,” suggests the novel’s ante-prologue. “but it’s based on ‘fact,’ just like the works of the great writers of historical fiction, like Irving Stone and Lion Feuchtwanger.”
The ambiguity permits Dan Brown to use his fiction in much the same way as Harriet Beecher Stowe used her Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Except that Stowe’s novel was historically plausible and designed to further the noble cause of Black emancipation; while Brown’s is based on lies and designed to smear the Catholic Church while promoting a kind of New Age pornospiritual feelgoodism at the expense of traditional morals. Indeed, The Da Vinci Code attacks the Judeo-Christian religious teachings as violently, obsessively hostile to the “sacred feminine,” while promoting the idea of heterosexual indulgence as a mystical pathway to G-d and to the true, “suppressed” teachings of Jesus.
The juxtaposition of these last two progandistic objectives is intriguing, for, as should be obvious, they are completely contradictory. Indeed, while the author pretends to call for the return of woman to her original status of revered and holy minister of love, caring and nurturing, it seems that this is only to reduce her once again to an object to be used for the procurement of “holy” male orgasms. (337)
True, Brown does not seem to object to the woman’s sharing in this sacrosexual revelation, but he does seem to rue the disappearance of the ancient institution of ritual prostitution (a pre-Israelitic practice expressly outlawed by the Torah!), while describing with approbation the public sex ritual of “hieros gamos” purportedly practiced by various heretical sects throughout the ages.
At this point, one begins to suspect that the author has discovered the secret of Teflon:
1. The Da Vinci Code is based on fact and history (page 1, under the heading, “Fact”). The Da Vinci Code is a work of pure fiction. (Copyright page)2. The author is a male chauvinist, envisioning women as priestesses of sex or holy prostitutes. The author is an ardent feminist, a pro-feminine advocate for restoring the sacred feminine to its rightful throne.3. The author maliciously libels the Jewish Faith by falsely and baselessly claiming that “men seeking spiritual wholeness came to [Solomon’s Temple] to visit priestesses—or hierodules—with whom they made love and experienced the divine through physical union.” (336) The author admires sacred prostitution (336) and credits the Jews with protecting the alleged wife and daughter of Jesus (276); hence he can’t be an anti-semite. (Note that the purported sexual licentiousness of the Jews has long been a favorite theme of Nazi and other anti-Jewish propaganda.)4. The Church is desperate to to suppress “a secret so powerful that, if revealed, it threatened to devastate the very foundation of Christianity!” (259, 288) Everybody knows this “secret” anyway, including “scores of historians” (273), the authors of an international best-seller that “caused quite a stir back in the nineteen eighties,” (274), and Walt Disney himself, who made it his life’s work to pass on the secret “metaphorically” via his cartoons! (282)5. The author says and does these things, but no, he doesn’t: it is only his fictional creation who says them and does them.
These artful, self-contradictory, spineless shiftings are not just legalistic posturing. They are epitomized by the very plot line of Brown’s novel. For the heroine, who at the novel’s end is revealed as the most direct descendent of the royal bloodline of the purported Jesus-Magdalene union, hence as the heiress-apparent to the exalted priesthood of the Magdalene herself, (477) wraps things up by propositioning the hero (after their first kiss), for a secluded week of sex in a Florence hotel! (484) So their story ends—at least until the sequel, when no doubt we will all be invited to attend the “hieros gamos” of the happy couple.
This should be a dead give-away. The Da Vinci Code is not an inspiring journey of rediscovery of the Holy Grail, the Sacred Feminine, the True Teachings of the Christian Messiah. It is a pretentious, shallow, deceitful, intellectually sordid, cynical, back-alley, legally armor-plated puerile voyage of pseudo-cultural obfuscation, historical revisionism and spiritual degradation. Thanks to Dan Brown and Random House / Doubleday, in the future all best-selling novels will be written this way.