Scientific Methods

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The most striking feature in the whole set-up of the book and the film is the explicit money- making schemes that are added to both. As one explores the internet for some information you slowly realize that this is nothing but a big money-making scheme that according to statistics definitely paid dividends as reported in terms of money by numerous reporters and the fact that the author Dan Brown had become a multi-millionaire in about a week’s time. Somehow in my opinion I think most of its critics had missed the overall purpose of writing the book and the film.

Dan Brown did not write the book in an effort trying to change the past or the future of religion. If that was his purpose he would have made sure about all his facts. What he did realize though is the fact that involving elements like Jesus, marriage, Mary Magdalene (known generally as a prostitute), a famous painter, Leonardo Da Vinci, the Catholic Church etc. are definitely a brilliant way of attracting public attention. What he did was to arise the inquisitiveness of the general public. In my opinion I think most people thought that in the film they were going to see a new human version of Jesus Christ and His proposed wife, but unfortunately, they had to be happy at looking at one of Da Vinci’s paintings, the last supper and a kind of interpretation thereof. However, Dan Brown probably did not dream in his wildest dreams that this effort of his would result in such a big pay-off, of course at its own prize.

I wonder how many writers after writing a novel really analyze how it will be interpreted by the different levels of readers like the academics and the lay public. Did Dan ever thought that so many academics would find the time to read and interpret his book that were probably just meant to be for the lay public and to make him a few bucks that he could live of. I mean the theme Dan has chosen is nothing new as there are already a few books written before in the same kind of line, but the big difference here is the fact page in front of the book and the fact that it had made Dan a very wealthy man afterall. I reckon the fact page has given many critics a whip in the hand with which they could lash out at Brown. Would the reaction have been the same if the fact page in front was just left out? Yes once fact and fiction, especially including some romance, are mixed together the truth can become easily confused. Remember the expected effect and the actual result mostly differs totally. Did it ever occur to Dan Brown that there are some people that are so young in their faith that anything they read, hear or see will influence them resulting in overall personal confusion?

It did not make me mad when I read accusations about Jesus being married and having a bloodline and so on, and so on …. In fact it brought a smile to my face, due to the fact that I realized that being married and having a family is the creation of a picture of happiness. Gone is the picture of the lonely sole, which had absolutely no-one to rely on or no hope in future of passing on his genes. Isn’t wishing some-one well with words like “…..I hoped you will get married and have lots of children…..” part of our framework of creating happiness? Most books and films made of Jesus illustrate his suffering in an effort to save humankind. Attributing more human-like properties to Jesus makes it in a way easier to relate to him. Don’t we all have more sympathy with the poor suffering sole than with the guy that have everything and is always perfect?

I wonder if this book and film would have attracted the same attention and critics if everyone ignored it and Dan Brown did scarcely made a buck. Unfortunately I am not going to discuss the whole storyline of the book and film, because then I will rob you from the opportunity of going yourself on the internet, maybe buying the book and making the effort to see the film. However I will supply some good sites on the internet that you can explore yourself and form your own opinion about it below.

What did Dan Brown and the Da Vinci code do for me? It made me wonder why I couldn’t remember the piece of Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene and Peter lashing out at them though I did read through my Bible a few times during my lifespan. I therefore tried to find the book Philip in my Bible, but only found Philemon and Philippians, through which I read again just to make sure. After an internet search I learned that the book Phillip, as the book of Thomas, etc. is part of the Nag Hammadi Documents that were discovered in 1945 and due to the fact that it was all written more than 100 years later than the other New Testament Bible books were not included in the Bible. I also read through the internet version of these lost books, especially the book Philip and found that it was definitely written in a totally different manner than the books currently included in the Bible. I personally found the book Phillip repeating itself a lot of times. That leads to confusion, as if the person did not really have to say much, but was trying to say the same thing repeatedly in a different way.

I also wondered why I did not know more about these lost books. Why was it never pertinently mentioned by name in my religious education, like Sunday school, Sunday church ceremonies, etc.? I feel quite embarrassed by the fact that I have to learn (like it seem to me a lot of other people) through Dan Brown’s book and film about the book Philip. It made me wonder how I will be able to defend myself if I am obviously uninformed in my religion. Frankly it feels as if my religion educators failed me in a certain sense.

I also learned about the existence of the Priory of Sion (though its creators claims it is totally misinterpreted), The Holy Grail, Opus Dei, The Knights Templar, etc. and it urged me to do some research on each of them to find out exactly what they were about.

Whether the book and film are good or bad or true or untrue does not matter much to me. I have learned a lot of new information that I did not knew about and I own the freedom to decide what of it I want to believe or not. Afterall, I am not a puppet and do have the ability to form my own opinions about information supplied to me. I truly think anyone that just blindly believe what Dan Brown or any other author writes in his books without doing research themselves to find the real truth deserve to be mislead.

Here are some websites you could use to explore about the book and film of The Da Vinci code:

1. Wikipedia contributors. The Da Vinci Code [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 31,
17:59 UCT [cited 2006 May 31].
Available from:





6. (Gospel of Philip).

7. (Gospel of Thomas).

8. (Gospel according to Mary













Elizabeth van der Merwe
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag x17

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