Sunday, May 21, 2006

Debunking “The Da Vinci Code”

Via Dappled Things, a splendid debunking of the pseudo-historical pseudo-theological nonsense of The Da Vinci Code.

The ironies surrounding the book (and now the movie) are huge.

One of the most acute ones involves author Dan Brown’s embracing of Gnostic sources about the early history of the Church — sources that mainstream Christianity rejected as heretical.

The Gnostics were, quite simply, elitists who thought themselves intellectually and therefore morally superior to the ordinary run of humanity. According to the The Catholic Encyclopedia, gnosticism is:
The doctrine of salvation by knowledge. This definition, based on the etymology of the word (gnosis “knowledge”, gnostikos, “good at knowing”), is correct as far as it goes, but it gives only one, though perhaps the predominant, characteristic of Gnostic systems of thought. Whereas Judaism and Christianity, and almost all pagan systems, hold that the soul attains its proper end by obedience of mind and will to the Supreme Power, i.e. by faith and works, it is markedly peculiar to Gnosticism that it places the salvation of the soul merely in the possession of a quasi-intuitive knowledge of the mysteries of the universe and of magic formulae indicative of that knowledge. Gnostics were “people who knew,” and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know.
Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, has always been a very public faith.

Jesus taught pretty much anybody who would listen, including both the uneducated masses, and some rather disreputable sorts of people.

If you had lived during New Testament times, and run into the Apostle Peter, he would have told you everything he knew about Jesus.

And probably repeated a good part of it. He would have talked your ear off. A Jehovah’s Witness is nothing compared to the early apostles.

Had you run into a Gnostic, and he would condescend to talk to you at all, he might have made some oblique comments, trying to test you to see whether you were intellectually “up” to receiving the occult “knowledge.”

And which group does Dan Brown side with? The elitists. The nose-in-the-air “we know better than you do” snobs.

But then, sociologically, those are the people to whom he is trying to appeal.

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