February 25, 2007
expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
“On March 18, 2003, Stephen Rubin,
president and publisher of Doubleday Broadway, sent 10,000 advance copies
of a book by an unknown author to booksellers and the media, hoping to
create an instant energy jolt for a publishing industry on the ropes. His
author, a former English teacher at a New Hampshire prep school, was Dan
Brown; the book, The Da Vinci Code.” *
More than eighty
gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few
were chosen for inclusion - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John among them. ‘Who
chose which gospels to include?’ Sophie asked...The Bible, as we know it
today was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the
Great...Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries
after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling his
life as a mortal man...Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible
which omitted those gospels which spoke of Christ’s human traits and
embellished those gospels that made him god-like. The early gospels were
outlawed, gathered up, and burned.” - The Da Vinci Code (Pp. 231-234)
Some People argue that banning books and
controversial films is a good idea! Some think that, such books must not
be published at all, or such cinemas should not be released at all! The
book “The Da Vinci Code”1 was published (Doubleday 2003, Bantam 2003, and
Corgi 2004), sold 25 million copies, and over 40 million people have
already read the book, and the film adaptation of the book, was released
on May 19, 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival.2 The book was attacked by
some, and dismissed by others. Many praised it. Many clamoured to see it
on silver screen. The book itself is said to be the most successful ever
in the publishing history and has been in the market for 3 years or more
now. The Guardian UK called it a “Word of mouth success” (Lucy Mangan
11.Aug, 2004)3. As of May 2006 an estimated 60.5 million copies were
sold.)4. Pirated copies were sold by street side vendors on platforms of
Indian Cities for a pittance of Rupees 30/-. “After 20 million copies were
sold the Vatican woke up. Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone S.D.B., said “Don’t
Read Da Vinci Code” (Times, 17-3-2005
ROME.)5. Vatican has condemned
the book as a collection of shameful and unfounded lies (The Hindu dated
18.03.2005).Why did Vatican wake up so late? Why then ban the movie now by some State
Banning the Da Vinci Code movie and the
Cola drinks in India
The book 'Da Vinci Code' is seen by the
devout Christians as an assault on their faith. They reason that if such a
book is widely read people will lose faith in their religion. "Religious
belief is the mechanism to make people behave decently", they say, and
that belief is necessary to behave properly, ethically, righteously, and
even patriotically. Such subjective definitions were used in the past to
fight wars like Jihads and Crusades, suggest that people are
incapable of behaving without religion. When the Vatican was making a hue
and cry for the novel written by Dan Brown, not a single word was uttered
when Hindu Goddess Saraswathi was painted in nude by M.F.Hussain,by the
national leaders, national and international media, Hindu leaders, Vatican
or Islamic council either in India or abroad. Why this double standard?
Indian media also made a loud protest on Dan Brown’s novel, but never
bothered to protest the nude paintings of M.F.Hussain.
It is a sad day for democracy that
theatres in some states like Andhra Pradesh have chosen not to show the Da
Vinci Code. “Is it not the case of Rome has spoken, and the case is
closed”? Our constitution has inbuilt safeguard for free speech and
freedom of expression. (Articles 19 and 19(1)). Not known to many is the
fact that Historical Christ is very important to Vatican, at this point in
history, and Dan Brown's " The Da Vinci Code "has helped it. The now
controversial film known to students of Christian history is part of the
subject “Christology”. Ever since the days of council of Nicaea in 365 AD,
the reinventing of Christianity has been taking place. When the general
interest in Christianity is waning in the west, it has become necessary
for the Vatican to revitalize itself, and is now being helped by the Da
Vinci Code (book and film). David A Yallop (“In God’s name”, Corgi books
1984), has been translated into 27 languages and sold over 2.5 million
copies. But it did not create a ripple in India like"The Da Vinci Code".
Yallop says “the unhealthy interlocking of church and state and its
preoccupation with wealth, power and world politics is even more
pertinent. The fact that the men and the women within the Roman Catholic
establishment can not even speak openly and be identified is an eloquent
comment on the state of affairs within the Vatican”.
James Colin says in Worldly Goods, "Worldy
goods is a book about the Wealth , Power and pomp and political clout of
the Roman Catholic Church.Or,to be more exact,about the financial and
administrative working of this oldest and strangest western Insititution".
In general, we all know much less than we should know about Insititutional
wealth. Ben said ,I 've got a great piece of information for you. Somebody
very high up in the Chancery [administrator's office] of the Newark
diocese told me," I'cant give you his name,because it was confidential."
But he said “that the Church owns all the stock in a Company that makes
Birth Control Pills."
Eight years ago, Rev.C.Richard Ginde of
Pittsburgh in our 'Sunday Visitor', a mass circulation Catholic weekly
wrote , " The Catholic Church must be the biggest corporation in the
United States. We have a branch office in the United States.We have a
branch in almost every neighborhood.Our assets and real estate holdings
must exceed those of the Standard Oil, AT & T, and US Steel combined.And
our roster of dues paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of
the United States Government. Economically speaking, moreover, each Bishop
is a law unto himself".
" Writing in Play Boy magazine (April
1967) the late James A.Pike former episcopal Bishop of California and once
an attorney for SEC (Securities and Exchange commission ) bolstered his
appeal to "Tax the Churches" with a set of startling financial statistics
about the Society of Jesus. He asserted, the Largest Catholic priestly
order ,SJ owns 51 percent of the Bank of America (the California Banking
Empire )ranked largest in the Country (USA)with assets over US$ 21 billion
( This was in 1971). (Worldly Goods, by James Collin , Random
House,1971,ISBN )- 394 46 330-7.The wealth and Power of the American
Catholic Church,the Vatican and the men who control Money, Page 12).
The west has lost its sense of sacredness
long time ago, where traditional religious beliefs have been replaced by
liberal humanistic and profound values like democracy, human rights,
freedom of speech and expression. This is offset sometimes by a liberal
dose of pornography and profane values affecting the public domain.
Governance is to a great extent people friendly, marked by a general lack
of corruption. Local politics is driven by local issues, hence called
‘petition driven local politics’. (These are mostly alien to countries in
the east that were once colonized and dominated by the west, resulted in
the politicians and administration having inherited a colonial policy and
legacy of suppression of natives.)The Asian and African continents
combined gave rise to three ancient civilizations and corresponding
civilization values that clearly demarcates the sacred versus the profane.
For e.g.: The ban (spontaneous and not so spontaneous)on the screening of
the movie Da Vinci Code in many states of India, China, and in some Arab
countries, should be seen against this backdrop, where people of these
civilizations have not lost their sense of sacredness.
Globalization thrives on altering the
traditional perceptions of living, culture, food habits, work style, work
place culture, and dress code (For Example Fashion TV). Further air
travel, teleconferencing, BPO culture, late night working, call centers,
ITES, though may be helpful for the economy, on the negative side results
in the loss of one’s identity, as one is not identified by his or her real
name, but by a Pseudo-American name given by the employer. The expressions
like ‘software coolies’ explains the predicament of the workers in the
said areas. American, Australian, British and Canadian slangs filter into
local cultures. This is seen by many as cultural invasion. Alcohol,
smoking and drugs usage have become rampant among the workers resulting in
accidents, and disintegration of families and family values in
cosmopolitan cities such as Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai & Delhi, that are
totally aping the European and American ways of living.
This complete absence of sensitivity to
local cultures, local values and heritage is found in the entire process
of globalization. This jump starts ‘Reactionary Radicalism’ (RR). ‘RR’
views globalization with paranoia. It focuses intently on specific niche
issues, like deriving inspiration to fight the cola giants, and seeking a
ban on The Da Vinci Code. The alienation of those who are not the partners
of the globalization process leads to RR. It is a catch 22 situation for
policy makers, on how sensitive they are going to be, in tackling these
issues? Whether these issues will allow them to take their economies
forward on the fast track, or will it have adversely affect the economy,
and the entire society? Our policy makers have failed to note that in the
western countries, traditional families have broken down, and traditional
religions have lost their appeal, and there is a demographic challenge of
aging population, that depend more on State's welfare. The education
standards are falling steadily and less number of really qualified and
skilled students coming out who can run the systems of the country.
Increase in mental illnesses, obesity, heart attacks, and the absence of
doctors and nurses in requisite numbers and hospitals is acutely felt. The
debt driven economy of the United States of America driven primarily by
market economy, venture capital funds, IT and communications has created a
vortex that demands more humans to make the systems work, as systems by
themselves do not work. The much glorified ‘Protestant Ethics’ based on
‘work-centric philosophy’ and ‘individualism’ are foundational values that
inspired western capitalism, market driven economy, that has resulted in
commoditization of humans, and a general lack of ‘Global accountability’
that is run by short sighted politicians, is showing in the melting of
polar caps and dwindling glaciers, all this is in the name of modernism.
(Pope Pius X is thought by many historians to be total disaster coined the
The Vatican sees India as the last bastion
of the sacred, and hence seeks to infuse that spirit into Christianity in
the west. (Harvard Professor FX Clooney says, he wants to infuse the
inspiration that he has derived from Nammalvar's "Thiruvaimozhi" into
Christianity.) Christianity that is being driven by
evangelisation,commerce,politics,technology and humanism; a fact which our
policy makers should take note of.
World over India is regarded as the last
sanctuary of sacred spirituality. But India itself is losing its 5000 year
old heritage to the forces of westernization, modernization, technolgy
driven urbanization, MNC cultures, that results in the mass emigration of
young, educated, and talented people to the people first the Cities and
then from there to spring board them into people starved western
countries, to drive and man their techno-economic and social systems.
This is going to cause irreparable damage to the entire social fabric, and
civilization inheritance of this old country. It is estimated that 100,000
young people migrate to the USA from Chennai alone. This is probably the
greatest possible exodus of humans from any single country. Who are the
beneficiaries and who are the losers in the long run? Only history can
tell. This undermining of the civilization and its core values that could
produce a Mahatma Gandhi, who freed half the humanity from colonialism by
sheer moral force through non-violence, Sri Aurobindo, Ramakrishna
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, Dr.S.Radhakrishnan, Ramanujam, Subramanya Bharathi,
Rabindranath Tagore, R.K.Narayanan, Kuvempu, Narayana Guru, Vivekananda,
Bhagat Singh, to name a few. In this world of rising and falling share
prices, hourly weekly and quarterly business results, currency trading,
stacks up against survival of the holistic, life cycle approach of the
eastern philosophies, that have endured the millennia, have to be given a
The fight against the ‘Cola giants’, and
opposition to the film Da Vinci Code in India is the result of inherent
conflicts in these products that resulted in the public outrage. The
immediate ban on the Cola companies and Da Vinci Code is based on a
simplistic understanding of A) Environmental issues, and B) Historical
issues. The environmental issues and impact of Cola drinks are beyond the
scope of this study. (The CSE report was used by genuine groups working
for environmental protection, but in some states the CSE report was used
for MNC bashing and the ban was introduced because of left centric
The opposition to the Da Vinci Code and
the subsequent ban is based on a simplistic understanding of Christianity.
Even though the Italian and many European countries (the home of Vatican
based Christianity) have not banned the film, but some highly charged and
overenthusiastic countries in Asia, Africa, and
Arabia have banned the film,
whereas many states in India with good Christian presence such as Kerala,
have not banned the film. The quick release of the ban on Cola companies
fearing reprisals in foreign direct and indirect investments, and in the
Code case, the courts removed the ban saying that it is unconstitutional
for the local governments, speaks of the short sighted approach in the
first instance, and lack of proper understanding of history in the second
case. Banning western movies and cola drinks will ultimately fizzle out to
be bad economics. It will drive out investors – so they say.
For the policy makers who have to walk the
tight rope, may get some comfort that China had also banned the Da Vince
Code Film. But they also should note in dealing with colonial missions
China as compared to India has a better record. India bore the brunt of
Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British invasions and also faced the
longest Inquisition (250 years 1560 to 1812) in history. The history of
Christianity in India is far from a happy one, as against the popular
notions of Christianity taught in schools.
The discovery of ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ and
‘Nag Hammadi’ library made it necessary to put popular notions of
Christianity into oblivion. “The existence of divergent Christologies in
early Christian times is a strong argument against Jesus’ historicity”
said Prof. G.A.Wells of Birbeck
College, London, in ‘Did Jesus exist’,
1986. Everywhere early Christian literature shows severe theological feuds
and severe battles were fought. The view taken by opponents of the film
"The Da Vinci Code" is based on a simplistic understanding and does not
even show a rudimentary understanding of the complex Christian history.
‘The wide diversity of early Christianity
may be seen above all in the theological beliefs embraced by people who
understood themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ. In the second and
third centuries there were of course Christians who believed in one God.
But there were others who insisted that there are two. Some said there
were thirty. But some others claimed there are 365…. How could these views
be considered Christian? Why had not they consulted the New Testament? It
is because there was no New Testament then. To be sure the books that were
eventually collected in to the New Testament had been written in the 2nd
Century. But they had not been gathered into a widely authoritative cannon
of scripture’ (See - Lost Christianities, the battles for scriptures and
faiths we never new, by Bart.D.Ehrman, Page3, Oxford University Press,
2005. ISBN – 10: 0-19-518249-9).
In the Council of Nicaea 325 AD, where the
Roman Emperor Constantine got converted to Christianity, expunged as many
as 66 Gospels belonging to diverse forms of Christianities. By and large
the general public is not aware of the Historical manipulations that
resulted in the present day Bible, that is being continuously edited.
“None of these religions insisted that it was right and others must all be
wrong”. But this was not shared by the Proto- Orthodox authors (See - Lost
Christianities, the battles for scriptures and faiths we never new, by
Bart.D.Ehrman, Page254, Oxford University Press, 2005.)
By and large the general Christian public
(Laity), and the church trainees in India have not heard of the Epistle of
Apostles (mid 2nd Century), Gospel according to Hebrews (early 2nd
century), Gospel of Ebionites (mid 2nd century), Gospel of Egyptians
(early 2nd century), Gospel of Mary (early 2nd century), Gospel of Peter
(early 2nd century), Gospel of Philip (3rd century), Gospel of Saviour
(Late 2nd century), Coptic Gospel of Thomas (early 2nd century), Proto
Gospel of James (mid 2nd century), and enormous literature related to
Clement I circa 96, Letter of Ptolemy to Flora (mid 2nd century), and the
2nd Treatise of the Great Seth (3rd century), and the like apart from the
books banished by the council of NICEAE. The discovery of Dead Sea Scrolls
and Nag Hammadi library and 13 volume translation of Gnostic Gospels by
Dr. Eliane Pagels of Princeton University, ‘The Historical Evidence for
Jesus’ and ‘Did Jesus Exist’ by G.A.Wells of Birbeck College, London, and
‘Was the original Jesus a pagan god’ by Timothy Freske, and discovery of
‘secret gospels of Mark’ (1958) by Prof. Marton Smith of Harvard
University, in a Jerusalem monastery caused quite a stir.
“The Holy Blood and
the Holy Grail " by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln was
first published in the UK in 1982.(Arrow BooksISBN 0 09 9682411 9). The authors had examined the "
Marital status of Jesus". They asked 1) Is there any evidence in the
Gospels , direct or indirect, to suggest that Jesus was indeed married? (P
346). 2) If Jesus was married , is there any indication in the Gospels for
the identity of his wife? (P.349)., 3) If Mary Magdalene and Mary of
Bethany are the same women ,and if this women was Jesus' wife Lazarus
would have been Jesus's brothere in law (P 355)., 4) If Jesus was indeed
married to the Magdalene, might such a marriage have secured some purpose
(P. 362)., 5) Did Jesus pose a threat to the Roman empire as did Gandhi
pose to the British empire ? (P 366)., 6)Is there any evidence in the
Gospels that Jesus actually did have Children?(P 368). The Jesus could
have sired a number of Children prior to the Cruci-fiction.If he survived
the cruci-fiction, however,the likelihood of his offsprings would still
further increase. Is there any evidence that Jesus indeed survive the
Cruci-fiction - or that the cruci-fiction was in someway a fraud? (P.
371). The book had firmly established the blood line thesis from where the
Novel "The DaVinci Code" evolved its plot, but not plagiarised, as the law
suit filed against Dan Brown by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry
Lincoln authors of " The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail ", was rejected by
a court of law in
London. ( http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.asp?id=10335&deptid=7)(Intellectual
Property Rights Frontline April 8,2006.)
These developments were known to
international audience well before Dan Brown published his novel Da Vinci
Code. It is not that the ‘expunging’ took place only in Niceae where the
66 gospels were lost, and subsequently the expunctions never took place.
In fact they continued even unto the Council of Diamper (Udayamperoor
1501CE), Kerala, where the Syrian Christians after they were conquered by
Portuguese Christians, and made subjects of the Roman Catholic Church,
lost their “Syrian Bible” and Pattayam that gave them rights, by Hindu
kings to live in their territory
On the lines of lost Christianities, there
were lost gospels. The gospels that came to be included in the NT were all
written anonymously (Lost Christianities – by Bart.D.Ehrman, Page3, Oxford
University Press, 2005). A gospel written by Mary Magdalene and another by
Jesus’ twin brother Didymus Judas Thomas, and another by disciple Simon
Peter and one by Philip are all now available in the open market. Did some
one expunge these gospels? Who made these decisions? When, where and why?
Dan Brown’s novel is based on the surviving gospel of Philip and Mary
As we have seen, the Romish Church has
been reinventing itself very regularly with the money, media, political
power, and propaganda available at its disposal. As the popular Greek
saying goes ‘Rome is the home of forgeries’.Vatican is known to promote
fake relics, fake documents that would serve its political and Christo
theological interests . If the pristine purity of Jesus was lost and
damaged by Dan Brown’s novel ( according to which the infallible Jesus
married Mary Magdalene and fathered children like mere mortals ), then the
purity of Jesus has been sacrificed at the very altar of the historical
Christ. Strangely it was a gain for the Church, for the bloodline thesis
by Dan Brown not only proves that Jesus the Christ existed once upon a
time, but also fathered children. At the present level of advanced
archaeological and historical research, when the historicity of Jesus is
questioned, the Vatican would love to lap up the bloodline thesis. In
Europe and elsewhere when Vatican’s feuds and priestly paedophiles are hot
topics of discussion on television shows, when Vatican has been sued for
its Nazi Gold loot of World War II, stored in the Vatican bank, and the
laity in India, who have been kept in dark for so long, who had but
rudimentary understanding of Christianity, were shell shocked by the novel
of Dan Brown.Christology, has all along been promoted by the Vatican for
long, on the one hand, and Dan Brown has given it a big boost through his
novel . Though Dan Brown is perceived to be anti-christist, his previous
novel should be taken into consideration for arriving at a conclusion.In
" Angels and Demons", (published three years prior to the release of the
code) the self immolation of the priestly character Camerlengo in the last
chapter is the ultimate glorification of the papacy . Or one will not be
wrong in asserting that so far as the Vatican is concerned Dan Brown is an
insider. The doubter will do well to consult Dan Brown's " Angels and
Demons". (Angels and Demons by Dan Brown a Pocket Star Books 2000.(Hard
Cover) ISBN 0 - 671 - 0 2736 -0 .).
Da Vinci Code has caused the revival of
religious interest in the west, accompanied by religious tourism to some
of the places mentioned. On the other hand “The Da Vinci Code "movie may
have received the most telling condemnation of its quality so far. Rosslyn
Chapel has reported that not many visitors have visited the chapel after
the release of Da Vinci code . Critics have pointed out, Dan Brown has
inflicted a near fatal wound on the body of the church, and has hurt the
sentiments of millions of faithful followers of the religion, though he
himself and his publishers have enormously benefited in monetary terms as
the most successful book venture. Why then the Vatican woke up late in the
Da Vinci Code case? It is widely believed by scholars and critics of the
Vatican that Vatican has surreptitiously promoted Dan Brown as part of its
Christology. What Christianity has gained at the end of this controversy
is the image of Jesus has been tarnished in both Christian and non
Christian countries, though Christian countries themselves were not
bothered by the novel and the movie. A revival of interest concerning the
origins of Christianity in general and Christian history in particular,
and a sense of self-belief that the faithful will remain, and those who
have gone astray cannot be brought back, and the Bible was borrowed from
so many sources, and that it was not divines, who wrote the Bible, but
humans with all their frailties. The ban on the film by a secular India is
seen as unconstitutional and an unwelcome step, reflects the appalling
knowledge of Christian history, that makes this paper necessary. Only the
future can unravel the surreptitious role played by the Vatican in
perpetuating the biggest fraud of all times on the entire humanity i.e.
the existence of Jesus Christ (Who never existed ) by means of the
bloodline thesis - through an act of fiction , the" Da Vinci Code". Is
the Vatican reinventing Jesus Christ by means of the bloodline thesis? Is Dan brown
a mere puppet in the hands of the propaganda specialists of the
Vatican ?. The widely broadcast TV
interview of Dan Brown by the National Geographic channel proves that he
is not anti christist as believed by many staunch Christians. Hence we can
conclude safely taking all factors cited above that the Da Vinci Code is
nothing but a Vatican conspiracy to revive interest in Christianity which is at an all time
About the authors
G.P.Srinivasan (48) is a Management
Consultant who specializes in Business Process Reengineering, SAP, Quality
Management, Environmental Management, P- CMM, and strategic HR. He has 27
years management experience in various Indian Companies and MNCS.
Prof. R.Krishnamurthy (72) is a retired
professor from Dr Ambedkar College, Malegaon and Ahmednagar Maharashtra.
He taught Eastern and Western Philosophy, Buddhism, Jainism logic,
Psychology and English. He is a Philosopher, analyst, critic with a deep
humor and detached observation.
Dr.T.N.Ramachandran. (72) is scholar of
repute, well versed in Tamil and English and an internationally
acknowledged saivite scholar who is also quite at home in Vaishnavism. Hs
produced or facilitated in bringing out more than 150 books. Researchers
from all over the world are utilizing his expertise and experience even
today. He is a well sought out lecturer and has good following in UK,
South Africa, and Sri Lanka.
K.Vasudevan. ( 38) Is an Engineering
Graduate,has worked in GEC and Visteon for nine years. He is a
Vaishanavite follower and widely read on Hindu scriptures. He is a
publisher of vaishnavite books.
The DA VINCI CODE By DAN
BROWN, Corgi Book 2004:0 552 14951 9
Dan Brown .The official
Website of the best selling author.
Guardian: A word of Mouth
success by Lucy Mangan, 11.August 2004.
The Da Vinci Code from
Times, 17.3.2005. Rome , 20
Million Copies Later, Vatican Says Don't Read 'Da Vinci Code'
Lost Christianities, the
battles for scriptures and faiths we never new, by Bart.D.Ehrman, Page3,
Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN – 10: 0-19-518249-9).
The Da Vinci Code by Dan
Brown. P. 331 and P 333.
Jesus History or myth.
Christology and History: A
review essay. <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3664/is_200007/ai_n8904327>
9. www.jesusneverexisted.com by Ken
Humphreys. (A brilliant Compilation)
* On March 18, 2003,
Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Doubleday Broadway, sent 10,000
advance copies of a book by an unknown author to booksellers and the
media, hoping to create an instant energy jolt for a publishing industry
on the ropes. His author, a former English teacher at a New Hampshire prep
school, was Dan Brown; the book, The Da Vinci Code. A month later,
Rubin told Bill Goldstein of the New York Times that he was
“pleasantly surprised” when the novel debuted at number one on the Times’
bestseller list. One year later, that surprise had escalated into shock
and awe. The Da Vinci Code has remained on most bestseller lists,
much of the time at number one, and has sold over 5.5 million copies—a
feat only bested in 2003 by J. K. Rowland’s keenly anticipated fifth
installment of the Harry Potter series. Beyond this purely mercantile
bonanza, The Da Vinci Code has invaded popular culture, inspiring
cover stories in Time and Newsweek, dominating reading
groups, discussion classes at churches and libraries, and picking up a $6
million dollar movie option from Sony Pictures.
Is it just, as
Sherryl Connelly wrote in New York’s Daily News on March 16, the
novel’s uncanny ability to “shock the faithful and entertain everyone
else?” Or, as the Catholic Church and evangelical Christians would
eventually come to believe, was there a genuinely radical spiritual
message to be found somewhere in between the car chases and the puzzles?
The Novel That Ate
By Michelle Orecklin
He has been credited
with nothing less than keeping the publishing industry afloat, but that's
just the start. In March 2003, Dan Brown, 40, published his fourth novel,
The Da Vinci Code, a historical thriller purporting to expose a
centuries-old Vatican conspiracy to conceal the marriage and offspring of
Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Since then, the book has sold 25 million
copies in 44 languages worldwide, and Brown has been held responsible for
renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci, Gnostic texts and early Christian
history; spiking tourism to Paris, Rome and a 15th century church outside
Edinburgh, Scotland; a growing membership in secret societies; the ire of
Cardinals in Rome; eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven
guides to read along with it; a flood of historical thrillers; a movie
starring Tom Hanks; and an nbc reality show, now in development, in which
contestants will use history and folklore to solve arcane puzzles. Pretty
impressive, given that the New Hampshire native's three previous works
barely caused a ripple and, strictly speaking, the novel is heretical.
It's perhaps worth noting that one of the very few books to sell more
copies than The Da Vinci Code in the past two years is the Bible. (Time
“Accusing the entertainment
media of taking "voluptuous pleasure ... in promoting products that has
nothing to do with the truth," a Catholic cardinal, regarded as the
Vatican's highest authority on cultural issues except for the Pope, denounced
the upcoming film version of The Da Vinci Code. In an interview on French
radio, Cardinal Paul Poupard said he worried that millions of people
"would watch the film and believe it to be true. ... What I'm concerned
about is that decent people who do not have the proper religious education
will take this nonsense for the real thing." The film, directed by Ron
Howard and starring Tom Hanks Audreay Tautou and Ian McKellen, opens this
(IMDB News 15 May 2006
“The Da Vinci Code divined
$77.1 million from 3,735 locations, the second biggest opening weekend
ever among adult-geared pictures behind The
Passion of the Christ <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=passionofthechrist.htm>
and 13th overall. Sony's $125 million adaptation of the Dan Brown novel
that reportedly sold nearly 60 million copies worldwide handily marked
personal best debuts for director Ron Howard
and star Tom Hanks <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?id=tomhanks.htm>.
“Says Brandon Gray of News. On the global front, The Da Vinci Code played
nearly everywhere and claimed the highest-grossing foreign start in
history, raking in $152.6 million since Wednesday to surpass
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
$145.5 million from the same period last year. News:
Father Abdou Abu Kasm,
president of the Catholic Information Centre in Lebanon described the book
as "insulting." He told a BBC interviewer: "There are paragraphs that
touch the very roots of the Christian religion... they say Jesus Christ
had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene, that they had
children...Those things are difficult for us to accept, even if it's
supposed to be fiction....Christianity is not about forgiveness to the
point of insulting Jesus Christ."
officials told shop owners to remove the English, French and Arabic
copies of the book.” Again the definitions of sacred and profane are
subjective, driven by civilization values traditionally inherited. Mass
media and advertisements alter these perceptions using various
psychological methods. Films like Da Vinci Code distort the existing
perceptions. Hence there is retaliation.
The Digital Dretzka website
one assumes, would the organization have forgiven the creators of “The Da
Vinci Code,” a best-selling book and potential hit movie that had the
temerity to use one of Christianity’s basic tenets as the foundation for a
thriller. Absent the Legion of Decency, however, the theological Taliban
in Rome have
launched a campaign to discredit something that most people recognized as
fiction from the get-go.” “The film set box office records in Italy,
taking EUR 2m (pounds 1.4m), nearly double that country's previous top
hit, the Oscar winning Holocaust drama “Life is Beautiful”
Medical Hot Spots, the
recent News Week 30 October 2006) “As medical costs skyrocket—Americans
spent 16 percent of GDP on health care last year, according to the OECD,
and Europeans aren't far behind—the idea of going abroad to get healthy is
becoming more and more attractive. More than 150,000 North Americans and
Europeans currently seek medical treatment overseas each year, estimates
Josef Woodman, author of the forthcoming "Patients Without Borders." For
invasive surgeries, preferred destinations include India, Thailand,
Singapore and Malaysia. Large hospitals, such as Bumrungrad and the Apollo
chain in India, actively court American, European and Middle Eastern
patients. Slick Web sites tout their partnerships with nearby luxury
hotels for post-op recovery. Bumrungrad arranges limousines to pick up
patients at the airport, and sheiks and princes congregate in the Platinum
Lounge of Apollo's Delhi hospital. Abacas International, a leading travel
facilitator, reports that medical tourism to Asia could generate up to $4.4 billion.” <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15365149/site/newsweek/>
Red State by Kowalski
“The Vatican’s control over
the Hollywood lapsed” says the Washington post “When the Catholic
hierarchy lost the power to energize millions of parishioners for some
real Catholic action, when American Catholics responded to calls to
boycott Hollywood blockbusters with approximately the same obedient
deference they accorded the Vatican's advice on birth control, then
Catholic dominion over Hollywood lapsed. And today the only Code that
Hollywood adheres to is the kind authored by Dan Brown.”
Father FX Clooney SJ of
Harvard’s Divinity School (Director of Communication Vatican) is hard at work in extracting the
best of the Vaishnavite Granthams like the ‘Nithyanusundhanam’, a book
that has been prescribed for everyday practice every serious Vaishnavite
as part of his religious duty. He is on self appointed project of trying
to “Carrying wisdom to the wise”, a book he published with the same title.
FX Clooney in individual interactions he has stated that he wants to
reform Christianity from within.
It is part of the North
American Version of “Inculturated North American Christology. Inculturated
religion actualizes a particular faith in a specific context” See: Donald
L.Gelphi SJ <http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=100750238>).
In Lebanon the Movie was
banned. In Nigeria an African Country “LEGAL action should be taken
against The Da Vinci Code for its blasphemy, a cardinal said this week.
Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria was making the strongest condemnation
to date, made with authorization from the Vatican - which also backed
Archbishop Angelo Amato's call 10 days ago for a boycott of the film.
Vinci Code <http://www.apologeticsindex.org/216-da-vinci-code>
has become a growth industry. Last year the author appeared, alongside
the new pontiff, on Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most
influential people in the world. This movie adaptation, after a premiere
at next month’s Cannes Film Festival, was released on May 19 to a primed
and eager market across the planet.”
A.R Priolkar’s Goan
Inquisition and Alfredo DeMello’s website.
history: A review
Christology is explained “Wherever
Jesus matters, there too is Christology, be it explicit or hidden, for its
task is to say why he matters. This generic understanding of Christology
applies also to those portrayals of Jesus that are determined to rescue
him from Christology, for they assume that because he matters he ought to
be emancipated from Christian doctrine. Christology, in other words,
accounts for the assumed or avowed significance of this particular Jew.
Because "Jesus" is not the name of a Christ figure but of a historical
person, Christology is forever intertwined with history; conversely,
asserting the significance of his history and accounting for it implicates
some form of Christology, whether conceded grudgingly or confessed
gratefully. Until the modern era, it was taken for granted generally that
Jesus' own history and Christology were of a piece, like two sides of the
same sheet of paper. For the past two centuries, however, this symbiotic
relation between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith has been put
on the defensive. As a result, it has become widely accepted that "the
real Jesus," the Jesus of history, differed-sometimes drastically-from the
confessed Jesus Christ. Today it is no longer debated whether the Jesus of
history differed from the Christ of Christian Christology, including the
Jesus Christ of the Gospels; the debates are about the extent and nature
of the differences, and their impact on Christology. See: (Christology and
history: A review essay By Hans Schwarz
Sacred Feminine in India
...Not India at
least. Because, unlike the West, India has always venerated the sacred
feminine. Delhi Times on why the bestselling author, now facing the ire of
the Vatican, would have had no 'mythology' problems in apna desh...
Even as the Vatican launches a crusade to ban Dan Brown's The Da Vinci
Code , fans of the book are outraged. The book deals extensively with
Mary Magdalene, her 'marriage' to Christ and a child with him. It also
promotes the Holy Grail as a quest for the lost sacred feminine and
undermines the patriarchal roots of Christianity. Delhi Times on
why India can understand Da Vinci's code -- and Dan Brown -- so easily...
Unlike the West, the East, specially India, has always venerated the
feminine. Theatre person Shaoli Mitra, who has won applause for her stage
rendition of Draupadi's version of the Mahabharat (Naathbati Anathbat),
elaborates: "The feminine has always been a part of the pantheon of
Indian goddesses. She is a symbol of fertility. She is Devi and Shakti.
She is also the consort of the gods. But in Western religions, the
mother-goddess cult is a pagan cult and is not a part of thematic
religion. Feminine rituals that the secret society, the Priory of Sion in
The Da Vinci Code , indulge in have parallels in our culture."
According to Sandhya Mulchandani, writer: "If Dan Brown were to write his
work in the Indian context, there would be no problems. Indians portray
our female characters with insight and are comfortable with the female
aspect of our divinity. As a society, we're a lot more enlightened and
According to sociologist Anand Kumar, "The Church has always been nervous
about female sexuality. Mary Magdalene is a 'fallen woman' and Virgin Mary
could conceive only through Immaculate Conception." According to Ashok
Banker, writer, "Views that Brown has tried to propagate have been around
for a long time, it's just that he's made them accessible. He's touched a
nerve that needed to be touched and the popularity of the book shows a
latent desire in people to hear this kind of story."
Who's afraid of Dan
28 Mar, 2005 2355hrs IST
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
20 Million Copies
Later, Vatican Says Don't Read 'Da Vinci Code'
Mar 21, 2005 “The bestseller is a pack of lies that maligns Jesus and
harms Catholicism, a cardinal Bertone announces.”
(Times, 17-3-2005) ROME — Jesus wasn't divine, after all; he married Mary
Magdalene, a woman of possible ill repute, and they had kids. What's the
This now-famous premise shaping Brown's bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" has
infuriated leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and led to demands from a
senior Vatican official that the book be shunned.
"My appeal is as follows," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this week during
a Vatican Radio broadcast. "Don't read and don't buy 'The Da Vinci Code.'
Bertone said the breathless thriller of madcap chases through the Louvre,
code-crunching and sinister intrigue in Rome is a pack of lies that
maligns the world's greatest historical figure — Jesus Christ — and
attempts to undermine Catholicism.
Although the book, and especially its suggestions about Jesus and Mary
Magdalene, have always been controversial for Church officials, Bertone,
the archbishop of Genoa, is the highest-level prelate to come out against
Bertone, a former secretary of the powerful Vatican Congregation that
enforces Church doctrine, sponsored a symposium Wednesday night in Genoa
to, as he put it, expose the myths and malice of the book.
Speaking at the conference, Bertone acknowledged that the book was a
brilliantly marketed page-turner but said it "falsifies the figure of
Christ and the events central to the Christian experience, namely the
passion of Christ, his death and resurrection."
The timing of Bertone's comments, coming nearly two years after the book
started flying out of stores everywhere, had a few people scratching their
heads. The book has been translated into 44 languages and sold an
estimated 20 million copies.
The condemnation might have been prompted by the fact that the book's
plots and assertions are about to become even more widely disseminated in
a movie starring Tom Hanks. Or it could be the growing popularity of "Da
Vinci Code"-based tours to Rome and Paris in which tourists, with book in
hand, try to follow its clues.
Some priests have said they are alarmed that people really believe some of
the book's wilder conspiracy theories.
The novel's vogue has contributed to the belief among many Church leaders
that their faith is under attack. Religious intolerance that has grown
since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and the U.S.
invasion of Iraq has especially persecuted Christians, the Rome-based
Jesuit magazine, Civiltà Cattolica, said this month. The publication often
reflects Vatican thinking.
A number of senior Church officials in recent weeks have denounced what
they call Christianophobia. They are alarmed at what they see as the
eradication of Christian values amid a rise in secularism and
anti-Catholic policies, such as the legalization of abortion and gay
marriage, in traditional Christian strongholds such as Western Europe and
the United States.
Bertone said Brown's thriller was part of that trend.
"What would have happened if a book like this had been written, full of
lies, on the Buddha or Muhammad or even, for example, if a novel had been
published that manipulated the history of the Holocaust?" he asked.
The publisher, Doubleday, defended the book as a work of fiction. Reuters
news service quoted Brown's agent as saying the author was not expected to
respond to Bertone's complaints, though he previously has said that he
Bertone was joined at the Genoa conference by Massimo Introvigne, director
of the Center for Studies on New Religions, based in Turin, Italy. He said
the danger within Brown's book was that he stated early on that his
descriptions of secret rituals and mysterious documents were factual.
The book's popularity, Introvigne said, stems from its combination of "two
types of social 'tastes' which appear to be quite widespread: on the one
hand, the notion of 'conspiracies' and secret societies that dominate the
world; and on the other hand, an increasingly unashamed and virulent
Bertone, Introvigne and others also took exception to Brown's use of Opus
Dei, a controversial lay order that is well-connected in the Vatican, as
the villainous foil.
In the book, an Opus Dei "monk" is a killer; critics point out that Opus
Dei does not have monks and has risen in power and respectability, with
the pope elevating its Spanish founder to sainthood in near-record time
two years ago.
Msgr. Javier Echevarria, an Opus Dei bishop, on Wednesday called on Brown
to "rectify" his descriptions of the secretive order.
"He knows that he is doing wrong and that he is deceiving the people,"
Echevarria said, adding that he is praying "every day" for the author.
Religion Catholics and 'The
Da Vinci Code'
Greg Allen <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=2100171>
Things Considered <http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=2>,
May 13, 2006 · A poll shows
much interest among Catholics in the movie based on Dan Brown's novel
The Da Vinci Code. But few say they're rethinking their faith. Why is
there so much interest in alternate views of church history?<http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5403329>
The Jesus of
History: A Reply to Josh McDowell,Gordon Stein, Ph.D.
References 7. The
Gospels of Philip and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene made by Dan Brown.
”The gospel of Philip is always a good place to start Sophie read the
passage and he motioned to another passage from the gospel of Mary
Magdalene. The Da Vinci Code p 331 and P 333.
An investigation into
a man linked to a decades-old Vatican bank
reveals that he was murdered, and did not commit suicide as earlier
Roberto Calvi, a
leading Italian financier, was found suspended from Blackfriars Bridge in
London in 1982. He was chairman of the powerful Banco Ambrosiano, and had
close ties with top-ranking Vatican officials as well as organized crime.
His death came amidst revelations that the Institute for Religious Works (IOR),
the Holy See's financial arm, was involved in money laundering and other
suspect activities. Principals in the story were linked to fascist groups
including a renegade Masonic lodge that was working to overthrow the
Italian government, Mafia operatives and foreign intelligence services.
16. The Vatican
Vatican’s Nazi gold
— Wealth plundered by the Nazis from their victims has been traced to
banks in Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal and other neutral countries that
were secretly helping the Nazis stash stolen gold or launder it to buy war
materiel. One state after another has reluctantly opened its archives and
banking records to aid the search, with one glaring exception: the
So far the Vatican
has flatly refused to allow investigators access to its archives, despite
repeated pleas from several nations and from Jewish groups. A task force
headed by the US Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat is expected to
issue a report that questions the Vatican's wartime financial dealings.
And mounting evidence suggests that plunder from the Ustasha,
Croatia's pro-Nazi fascist government during the war, with the aid of
Croatian Catholic priests, made its way to Rome. Some of it was used to
help Croatian war criminals flee to South America.
From 1941 to 1945,
the Ustashas exterminated an estimated 500,000 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies,
and looted their property. They demanded 1,000 kilograms of gold from the
Jews of Zagreb, only to ship them to concentration camps and kill them
anyway. The Croatian Catholic Church was closely entangled with the
Ustashas: in the early years of the war, Catholic priests oversaw forced
conversion of Orthodox Serbs while Franciscans distributed propaganda.
Several high Catholic
officials in Yugoslavia were later indicted for war crimes. They included
Fr. Dragutin Kamber, who ordered the killing of nearly 300 Orthodox
Serbs, the "hangman of the Serbs" Bishop Ivan Saric of Sarajevo,
and Bishop Gregory Rozman of Slovenia, a wanted Nazi collaborator.
A trial in 1946 resulted in the conviction of a half-dozen Ustasha
priests, including former Franciscan Miroslav Filipovic-Majstorovic,
a commandant of a concentration camp where the Ustashas tortured and
slaughtered hundreds of thousands with a brutality that shocked even the
Dan Brown Wins in the Landmark Da Vinci Code Dispute
Saturday, April 08, 2006 by: IPFrontline
The eagerly awaited High Court Judgment on the Da Vinci Code copyright
dispute with the authors of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail was released
this afternoon finding in favour of Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci
author has been cleared of plagiarism and copyright infringement
allegations brought by Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh against Random House,
publisher of both The Da Vinci Code, published in 2003, and their book The
Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, first published in 1982.
Both books explore
the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a child and the bloodline
survives to this day.
Rod Dadak, Media
lawyer at Lewis Silkin, comments:
comes as no surprise but demonstrates the difficulty in interpreting
copyright laws over the extent to which an author can use other people's
research. The copying of ideas is not an infringement; rather it is the
expression of those ideas that has to be copied and the burden of proving
such falls on the claimants' shoulders. That burden proved too great in
this instance, but had the claimants succeeded they would likely have won
Dr Thomas Hays, IP
lawyer at City law firm Lewis Silkin, adds:
"The ruling is
excellent news for genre authors the world over. Given there was no
certain evidence of direct copying, the Judge was never likely to find in
favour of Dan Brown. There is a limit to what constitutes a human mystery
and this judgment reaffirms an author's right and freedom to work within
the bounds of established forms
surrounding the judgment include:
Plagiarism claims by
authors must demonstrate substantial copying or cherry picking the quality
in a work that represents a theft of the author's skill and labour
Stealing ideas as
such does not qualify for a successful plagiarism claim
similarities between the two books but they weren't enough to convince the
Judge that Brown had cheated
The problem for any
Judge is that the boundaries for such a claim are often difficult to
identify but it is clear that the theory expanded in the book by the
claimant authors was not entirely novel in any event.
BIBLIOGRAPHY ON CHRISTOLOGY
1. THE SEARCH FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS
John P. Meier, A Marginal
Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1991-1994),
2 volumes to date, hardcover. This is an extraordinary achievement: the
most thorough and well-balanced study of historical Jesus in decades. It
is massive (volume 2 is nearly 1000 pages). But Meier writes with great
clarity, and relegates technical issues to the (very lengthy) endnotes.
Basically for more advanced students. Probably 2 more volumes will be
E.P. Sanders, The
Historical Figure of Jesus (New York: Allan Lane / Penguin Books,
1993) NEW in paperback. A very good and balanced account from a leading
Luke Timothy Johnson, The
Real Jesus: the Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of
the Traditional Gospels (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1995), NEW in
paperback. The Jesus Seminar (John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, & Burton
Mack) made headlines last Easter in Time, Newsweek, and
U.S. New & World Report with their extravagant claims about the
historical Jesus. Johnson brilliantly demolishes their claims, and sets
out an excellent mainstream response.
John Dominic Crossan, The
Historical Jesus: the Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (San
Francisco: HarperCollins, 1992). Crossan is flamboyant, outspoken, and one
of the leaders of the so-called Jesus Seminar. This is his most thorough
and careful study. Crossan thinks of Jesus as a social revolutionary. He
also tends to treat apocryphal gospels like the Gospel of Thomas or
the Gospel of Peter on par with the 4 canonical gospels. His most
radical interpretations come out most clearly in his more recent books:
Jesus: A Radical Biography (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994) and
Who Killed Jesus? (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996), in which he
argues that Jesus’ body was never buried, but was eaten by dogs and birds
and dumped by the Romans in a trash heap. Be alert to Crossan’s biases.
Marcus J. Borg, Meeting
Jesus Again for the First Time: the Historical Jesus and the Heart of
Contemporary Faith, (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994). One of the
leading figures of the Jesus Seminar.
Marcus J. Borg, Jesus: a
New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship (San
Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1991).
Gunther Bornkamm, Jesus
of Nazareth (New York: Harper, 1960). A classic.
James H. Charlesworth, ed.,
Jesus' Jewishness: Exploring the Place of Jesus within Early Judaism
(New York: Crossroad, 1991).
James H. Charlesworth,
Jesus Within Judaism: New Light from Exciting Archeological Discoveries,
Anchor Bible Reference (New York: Doubleday, 1988).
James H. Charlesworth,
Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Anchor Bible Reference (New York:
Doubleday, 1992), NEW in paperback.
C.H. Dodd, The Founder of
Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1970). A classic.
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, A
Christological Catechism: New Testament Answers, revised edition (New
York: Paulist Press, 1991) paperback. A brilliant, dense summary of what
contemporary scholars are saying about the historical Jesus.
Joachim Jeremias, New
Testament Theology I: The Proclamation of Jesus (London: SCM Press,
1971). A superb, but technical study of distinctive features of the
preaching of the historical Jesus.
Albert Nolan, Jesus
Before Christianity, rev. ed. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1992). A
fine presentation from a South African liberation theologian. Readable.
E.P. Sanders, Jesus and
Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985).
Donald Senior, Jesus: A
Gospel Portrait, revised edition (New York: Paulist Press, 1992)
paperback. For beginners.
Gerald Sloyan, Jesus in
Focus: A Life in its Setting (Mystic, CN: Twenty-Third Publications,
Geza Vermes, The Religion
of Jesus the Jew (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
Geza Vermes, Jesus the
Jew: a Historian's Reading of the Gospels (Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1981). A very influential interpretation.
N.T. Wright, Jesus and
the Victory of God, Vol 2 of Christian Origins and the Question of
God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997). A well-argued (and often
humorous) challenge to the Jesus Seminar.
2. NEW TESTAMENT PORTRAITS OF JESUS
Graham N. Stanton, The
Gospels and Jesus, Oxford Bible Series (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1989) NEW in paperback. A good balanced introduction to the New
Testament and the historical Jesus. Good for newcomers.
Paula Fredriksen, From
Jesus to Christ: the Origin of the New Testament Images of Jesus (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1988) paperback. A very good summary of the
different christologies of the New Testament. See especially chapter 3.
She also offers a good treatment on the cultural world of Jesus.
Raymond E. Brown, An
Introduction to New Testament Christology (New York: Paulist Press,
Raymond E. Brown, The
Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives of Matthew
and Luke (New York: Doubleday, 1977), paperback.
Raymond E. Brown, The
Death of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Passian Narratives of the Four
Gospels (New York: Doubleday, 1994). A masterful study.
Oscar Cullman, The
Christology of the New Testament, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster
/ John Knox, 1963) paperback.
Victor Paul Furnish,
Jesus According to Paul, Understanding Jesus Today (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1993) paperback.
Robert M. Grant, Jesus
After the Gospels: the Christ of the Second Century (Louisville:
Westminster John Knox, 1990), hardcover.
Howard Clark Kee, Jesus
in History: an Approach to the Study of the Gospels (Fort Worth:
Harcourt Brace, 1996), paperback. An able survey.
Jack Dean Kingsbury,
Jesus Christ in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Proclamation Commentaries
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 19__).
Jack Dean Kingsburg, The
Christology of Mark's Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989).
Robert A. Krieg,
Story-Shaped Christology: The Role of Narratives in Identifying Jesus
Christ (New York: Paulist Press, 19__).
John P. Meier, The
Mission of Christ and His Church: Essays on Christology and Ecclesiology
(Wilmington, DL: Michael Glazier, 1990).
John Painter, The Quest
for the Messiah: the History, Literature, and Theology of the Johannine
Community (Nashville: Abingdon, 1993).
Vernon K. Robbins, Jesus
the Teacher: A Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation of Mark (Minneapolis:
Fortress Press, 1992).
John J. Rousseau & Rami Arav,
Jesus and His World: an Archeological and Cultural Dictionary
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995).
Jesus in the Gospels: a Biblical Christology, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr.
(Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995).
3. HISTORY OF CHRISTOLOGY: From Nicaea to
Leo Donald Davis, The
First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787): Their History and Theology
(Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1983) paperback. A good place to
start. It treats the politics surrounding the councils and has good
summaries of the major theological debates. Some of his interpretations
(especially on the Council of Nicaea) seem dated and would be challenged
by some recent scholars.
R.P.C. Hanson, The Search
for the Christian Doctrine of God: the Arian Controversy, 318-381 AD
(Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1988), hardback. A massive 900-page study of
Nicaea, Athanasius, and the Cappadocians by one of the deans of patristic
studies. This is the finest and the most exhaustive treatment of the
theology of the trinitarian controversy.
John A. McGuckin, St.
Cyril of Alexandria: the Christological Controversy: Its History, Theology
and Texts, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae XXIII (Leiden: E.J.
Brill, 1994), hardcover. A superb and unusually thorough analysis of the
clash between Cyril and Nestorius and the eventual resolution at the
Council of Ephesus. It also includes a valuable new translation of the key
Aloys Grillmeier, Christ
in the Christian Tradition, Vol. 1: From the Apostolic Age to
Chalcedon, revised ed., trans. John Bowden (Louisville: Westminster
John Knox, 1975), hardcover. Widely regarded as the most comprehensive
treatment of patristic christology; rather technical.
Angelo DiBerardino and Basil
Studer, ed., History of Theology I: The Patristic Period, trans.,
Matthew J. O’Connell (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1996) hardcover.
Athanase d'Alexandre, Évêque et Écrivain: Une lecture des traités Contre
les Ariens, Theologie historique 70 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1983).
Arius and Athanasius: Two Alexandrian Theologians (London: Variorum
Reprints, 1991), hardcover.
J.N.D. Kelly, Early
Christian Doctrines, 5th edition (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1978)
J.N.D. Kelly, Early
Christian Creeds, 3rd edition (London: Longman, 1972) paperback.
Christology and Cosmology: Models of Divine Activity in Origen, Eusebius,
and Athanasius, Oxford Theological Monographs (New York: Clarendon
Press / Oxford U. Press, 1993), hardcover .
John A. McGuckin, trans.,
St. Cyril of Alexandria: On the Unity of Christ (Crestwood, NY: St.
Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1995) paperback.
Frederick W. Norris,
Faith Gives Fullness to Reasoning: the Five Theological Orations of
Gregory of Nazianzus, trans., Lionel Wickham and Frederick Williams,
Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae Volume XIII (Leiden: E.J. Brill,
1991), hardcover. Superb translation & commentary.
Richard A. Norris, ed.,
The Christological Controversy, Sources of Early Christian Thought
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), paperback. A fine collection of the
Richard A. Norris,
Manhood and Christ: A Study in the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963) out of print.
Jaroslav Pelikan, The
Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), volume 1 of The
Christian Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971)
paperback. Superb, but very distilled; presumes you know the facts.
Athanasius (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1995), paperback,
G.L. Prestige, Fathers
and Heretics: Six Studies in Dogmatic Faith (London: SPCK, 1940). A
classic; dated, but excellent.
Manlio Simonetti, La
crisi ariana nel iv secolo, Studia Ephemerides (Rome: Augustianum,
Basil Studer, Trinity and
Incarnation: The Faith of the Early Church, ed. Andrew Louth
(Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1994), paperback.
Lionel R. Wickham, ed.,
Cyril of Alexandria: Selected Letters (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).
Excellent translations with Greek text. See the fine introduction by
Peter Widdicombe, The
Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius, Oxford Theological
Monographs (New York: Clarendon Press / Oxford U. Press, 1994) hardcover.
Frances Young, The Making
of the Creeds (Philadelphia: Trinity Press, 1991) paperback.
Frances Young, From
Nicaea to Chalcedon (London: SCM, 1983) paperback. Excellent
4. HISTORY OF CHRISTOLOGY: Developments
Jaroslav Pelikan, Jesus
Through the Centuries (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985)
paperback . Pelikan traces how each age drew on images from its culture to
shape its unique portrait of Jesus. It is especially enlightening in the
way it treats important episodes too often neglected. Not always an easy
book—but it treats a complex history with good care.
John Meyendorff, Christ
in Eastern Christian Thought (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary
Press, 1987) paperback. The classic treatment of Christology in the
Orthodox East (something most Latin Christians know almost nothing about).
Greeks wrestled with issues on the divinity and humanity of Christ with
great sensitivity—something we Western Christians could learn much from.
Bernard McGinn, "The God
Beyond God: Theology and Mysticism in the Thought of Meister Eckhart,"
Journal of Religion 61 (1981): 1-19.
Caroline Walker Bynum,
Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982) paperback. Essays on
Brian Davies, The Thought
of Thomas Aquinas (New York: Clarendon Press / Oxford University
Press, 1992) NEW in paperback.
G.R. Evans, Anselm,
Outstanding Christian Thinker Series (Wilton, CT: Morehouse Publishing,
1989) paperback, .
Andrew Louth, Maximus the
Confessor (London: Routledge, 1996), paperback .
Miri Rubin, Corpus
Christi: the Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1991) paperback.
R.W. Southern, St.
Anselm: A Portrait in a Landscape (New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1990) NEW in paperback,. This has a brilliant chapter on the
influential Cur Deus Homo.
5. CONTEMPORARY CHRISTOLOGIES
Karl Rahner, Foundations
of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity,
trans. William V. Dych (New York: Crossroad, 1985). Rahner is probably the
greatest Catholic theologian of the twentieth century. This is a
mini-summa of his theology and includes over 150 pages on his christology.
Jon Sobrino, Christology
at the Crossroads: A Latin American Approach (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis
Books, 1978). Sobrino is a Spanish Jesuit who has spent his career working
among the poor of El Salvador and was one of the survivors of the murder
of the Jesuits at the UCA. This is one of the classic works of liberation
Walter Kasper, Jesus the
Christ (New York: Paulist, 1976) paperback. One of the most balanced
and careful of modern studies—often used a textbook for graduate students.
While thorough, it is also very Germanic and can make for dense reading.
Hans Urs von Balthasar,
Mysterium Paschale: The Mystery of Easter, trans. Aidan Nichols (Grand
Rapids, MI: Eerdmanns, 1993).
Franz Josef van Beeck,
Christ Proclaimed: Christology as Rhetoric, Theological Inquiries (New
York: Paulist Press, 1979).
Leonardo Boff, Jesus
Christ Liberator (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1978).
Raymond E. Brown, Jesus:
God and Man: Modern Biblical Reflections (New York: Paulist Press,
Michael Cook, The Jesus
of Faith: a Study of Christology (New York: Paulist Press, 1980).
Jon Sobrino, Jesus the
Liberator: a Historical-Theological Reading of Jesus of Nazareth (Maryknoll,
NY: Orbis Books, 1993).
Elizabeth A. Johnson, She
Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Discourse (New York: Crossroad,
1992). A path-breaking feminist view.
Elizabeth A. Johnson,
Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology (New York: Crossroad,
1990). A good survey of recent approaches.
Abraham Malherbe and Wayne
Meeks, ed., The Future of Christology: Essays in Honor of Leander E.
Keck (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993)
Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Christ
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) paperback, . NEW.
Interpreting Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1983).
Jesus God and Man (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).
Lucien Richard, Christ,
the Self-Emptying of God (New York: Paulist Press, 1997). NEW.
Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (New York: Seabury Press, 1979).
Christ: The Experience of Jesus as Lord (New York: Crossroad, 1980).
Source: Compiled by
Fr. William Harmless, S.J.
With special emphasis
for books in the collection of Byrne Library,
Spring Hill College
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