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The DaVinci Code: A Book Review June 28, 2006

Posted by fajita in Book Reviews, Christianity, DaVinci Code, Philosophy/Religion.
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I am the last person on earth besides Mark Elrod, the read this book. Forgive the 1000 day late review.

Dan Brown’s skill as a writer capable of drawing the reader to the next page is unquestionably fabulous. The success of The DaVinci Code is proof of that.

Now, some might say that it is the content of the book, the controversy therein, that has given him rise to fame. It is not. He’s such a good writer that he presented the already existing controvery in such a way as to catapult the controversy into popular culture in a way Elaine Pagels only wishes she could do. What Brown says in his book is most certainly found in many other places and at many other times. Most or none of his ideas are all that original, I am sure. Rather, it is his presentation of the “facts” through fiction that has catapulted him to stardom.

What is originial is the way in which makes a story from the “facts.” Brown is obviously most intelligent and may just have an enduring novel on his hands. He did what every good writer does: hit major themes (religion, sex, murder, crisis, disillusionamnet, etc) and weave them into a suspenseful tale that pushes the reader into a “what next?” mode that keeps the pages turning.

After reading the book, I understand what all the fuss is about. The way in which the characters readily undo Sophie’s “faith” (which frankly wasn’t much to begin with), and convince her of a new faith was impressive. Not that she adopts paganism, but rather that she becomes more accepting of it – more accepting and sympathetic toward pagan sex rituals, those her grandfather was deeply embedded into.

But beyond that, Brown uses his characters to place cracks into the faith of long held beliefs by Christians. He makes his characters sound so convincing that you begin to believe that he believes what he is say through his characters. That’s really good writing. What Brown believes personally, I don’t know, but if he did believe all of this stuff in this book, I wouldn’t be surprised. If he doesn’t believe it, then I am even more impressed with him as a writer.

What Brown does that so infuriates some Christians is that he privileges voices that Christians have traditionally marginalized and marginalizes the traditional Christian voice. And he does it with surgical precision. And that’s the thing about a book – you can’t talk back to it, leave comments (like you can to a blog), or really have any say.

That is frustrating for Christians not to have a say, especially with something as powerful and successful as this book.

Some might think that Brown has an axe to grind against the Catholic Church, and he very well may, but that is beside the point. What Brown has successfully done is given rise to a cottage industry of DaVinci Code Books. I am not sure how they are selling, but one thing is for sure, people are talking about faith. People are thinking about the Bible. People are thinking about church. Brown has got people talking baout things that they were not previously talking about. He may have done it better than Mel Gibson did as couple years ago with The Passion of the Christ.

Or, it is possible that all the DaVinci Code functions as is an ink blot that says more about the reader than it does about the book. Maybe all it has done is to firm up people’s pre-existing resolve. Wellll, could be, but I bet there are some who have always had a bunch of questions and are now finally freed to ask them because of Dan Brown’s book.

I say thatnks to Dan Brown for his efforts and his conversation starter. I just hope that Christians can act like Jesus and not like idiots in response to this book.

If you want a smart person’s take on the book,

check this out—–> The Gospel According To The DaVinci Code

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Comments»

1. The Oracle - February 2, 2007

I couldn’t agree more. Dan Brown writes a good read leaving the reader with lots to think about and even more to discuss. Providing you have the nearve to talk religion with others. The thoughts this can bring to mind may challenge the background of the church but in this day and age we should be mindfull enough to consider new ideas.
His other books, Angels and Demons and Digital Fortress were equally good in their own way.


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