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  The "Da Vinci Code" - A Vatican Conspiracy!  
 

 

By: G.P.Srinivasan
February 25, 2007
V
iews expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

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“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)

Abstract

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 Some think that, such books must not be published at all, or such cinemas should not be released at all!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 Governments in India?

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 term modernism).  

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 due place.  

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 appeasement policies). 

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 Magdalene. 7  

Conclusion: 

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 low.    

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. 

References  

1.       The DA VINCI CODE By DAN BROWN, Corgi Book 2004:0 552 14951 9

            Dan Brown .The official Website of the best selling author. <   

            http://www.danbrown.com/se/exec/search.cgi>

2.       Guardian: A word of Mouth success by Lucy Mangan, 11.August 2004. <http://www.danbrown.com/novels/davinci_code/articles/Guardian_success.html

3.       The Da Vinci Code from Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Da_Vinci_Code>

4.       Times, 17.3.2005. Rome , 20 Million Copies Later, Vatican Says Don't Read 'Da Vinci Code' <http://www.cardinalrating.com/cardinal_12__article_814.htm>

5.       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).

6.       The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. P. 331 and P 333.

7.       Jesus History or myth. <http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/paul/j_myth.htm>

8.       Christology and History: A review essay. <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3664/is_200007/ai_n8904327>

          <http://camellia.shc.edu/theology/pdf/Christology.pdf>      http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1132002640>

        http://www.osl.cc/believe/daVinci/BREAKING%20DA%20VINCI%20CODE%203.htm>

      http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.asp?id=10335&deptid=7 

    9. www.jesusneverexisted.com by Ken Humphreys. (A brilliant Compilation) 

Notes 

* 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? 

1.       <http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/csrpl/RINVol7No1/God%20the%20Poppa.htm> 1

The Novel That Ate the World
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 Magazine.) <http://www.danbrown.com/media/morenews/time041505.htm>

2

2.       “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 Friday worldwide.”

 

(IMDB News 15 May 2006 <http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2006-05-15> ).

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3.       “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 <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/people/chart/?id=ronhoward.htm> 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 <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=starwars3.htm>'s $145.5 million from the same period last year. News: <http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=2072&p=.htm> 

4.       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."  

5.      “Security 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.  

           <http://www.religioustolerance.org/davinci2.htm> 

6.       The Digital Dretzka website said Neither, 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”  

7.       <http://www.mcnblogs.com/digitaldretzka/2006/05/if_flap_over_da_vinci_code_sou.html>

8.       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/>

9.       Red State by Kowalski 

10.    “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.” 

11.    http://kowalski.redstate.com/story/2006/5/20/61112/0581 

12.    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. <http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1132002640>

 13.    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>). 

14.    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. 

15.    <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4153/is_20060511/ai_n16371542>

      “The Da 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.”

<http://www.danbrown.com/media/morenews/time041505.htm> 

16.    A.R Priolkar’s Goan Inquisition and Alfredo DeMello’s website. <http://www.apol.net/dightonrock/inquisition_goa.htm> 

17.    Christology and history: A review  

Essay http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3664/is_200007/ai_n8904327

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 <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3664/is_200007/ai_n8904327>)

18.    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...

Our culture

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 liberal."

Their culture

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 Brown?
Sunaina Kumar
[<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1064428.cms>

12

19.     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 fuss?

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 Brown's blockbuster.

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 welcomed debate.

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 anti-Catholicism."

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.

20.    Religion Catholics and 'The Da Vinci Code'

by Greg Allen <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=2100171>

All 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. <http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/jesus.shtml>

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. 

14.Christology

<http://www.catholic-forum.com/catholicteacher/faith_christology.htm> 

15. Vatican bank scandal

An investigation into a man linked to a decades-old Vatican bank scandal <http://www.americanatheist.org/pope99/calvi.html> reveals that he was murdered, and did not commit suicide as earlier claimed.

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.

<http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/vat13.htm>

16. The Vatican Gold

<http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vatican/esp_vatican16.htm> 

17. Vatican’s Nazi gold 

ROME — 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 Vatican. 

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 Nazis. 

<http://www.theharrowing.com/gold.html>

http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/article.asp?id=10335&deptid=7
Dan Brown Wins in the Landmark Da Vinci Code Dispute
 

Saturday, April 08, 2006 by: IPFrontline Staff  

<HTTP://WWW.IPFRONTLINE.COM/aboutsource.asp?editorid=145>              

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 Code.

The best-selling 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:  

"The judgment 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 blockbuster damages."  

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 

Key issues 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

There were 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 forthcoming.

·         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 Protestant scholar.

·         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, 1983).

·         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, 1994) paperback.

·         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).

·         Rudolph Schnackenburg, Jesus in the Gospels: a Biblical Christology, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995).

3. HISTORY OF CHRISTOLOGY: From Nicaea to Chalcedon

·         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 documents.

·         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.

·         Charles Kannengiesser, Athanase d'Alexandre, Évêque et Écrivain: Une lecture des traités Contre les Ariens, Theologie historique 70 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1983).

·         Charles Kannengiesser, 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) paperback.

·         J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 3rd edition (London: Longman, 1972) paperback. Superb!

·         Rebecca Lyman, 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 major sources.

·         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.

·         Alvyn Pettersen, Athanasius (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1995), paperback, $18. NEW.

·         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, 1975).

·         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 Wickham.

·         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 bibliography.

4. HISTORY OF CHRISTOLOGY: Developments After Chalcedon

·         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 Cistercian spirituality.

·         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 theology.

·         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, 1967).

·         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)

·         Gerald O’Collins, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Christ (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) paperback, . NEW.

·         Gerald O’Collins, Interpreting Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1983).

·         Wolfgang Pannenberg, Jesus God and Man (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).

·         Lucien Richard, Christ, the Self-Emptying of God (New York: Paulist Press, 1997). NEW.

·         Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (New York: Seabury Press, 1979).

·         Edward Schillebeeckx, 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

http://camellia.shc.edu/theology/Christology.htm#historical <http://camellia.shc.edu/theology/Christology.htm>

G.P.Srinivasan

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