Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Why is the Da Vinci Code so terribly popular and succesful?

The book itself is not overly well written. The plot has been compared to slices of Emmenthaler cheese: thin and full of holes. The movie is not much better. It isn’t even very popular on the P2P networks, which should be seen as an indicator of true lameness. Not even when it’s free.
Yet, the book was sold by the millions and the movie is a box office hit. Why?

First, a brief overview of the key theme. Jesus of Nazareth was never executed but got married to Mary Magdalene, who originally played a key role in the christian congregation. The couple had kids and the descendants, protected by the knights Templar married into the french royal line. Of course, this wasn’t to the liking of the catholic church. ln the 20th century the last descendants were hidden by the Priory of Sion, a secret society dedicated to preserving and protecting theseerct of the true worship and the role of the feminine divine. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the Grand Masters of the Priory and left tons of clues in his works.
Feminine Divine? Yep, we are all misled by those evil masculine women-hating bible writers. They preferred a dead Jesus over the husband Jesus under the tight reign of Mary Magdalene. Something like John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Beatles.
This might be an interesting theme for a novel, but it is actually more surprising that people are considering the theme seriously. As if it is a novel idea in the history of Christianity. And it isn’t. It’s as old as Christianity itself and even predates it. Already in the time of the apostles the so-called ‘gnosis’ movement made headway. Documents were compiled to support the gnostic case. The gospels of Thomas, Barnabas and Mary Magdalene portrayed a different picture of Jesus. More like a person from the pre-lithium age with a bipolar disorder. The gnosis went for secret hidden knowledge. Sex-based rituals were normal practice for the ‘enlightened’ ones. Augustine used to be so into the gnosis. In later time the Cathar movement made serious inroads in medieval France.
The gnosis and Christianity were/are incompatible, though not because of sex and the role of women. The God of Israel and thus of Christianity, Jehovah, is considered the root of all evil in the gnosis. Now, whether you believe any of it or not, the incompatibility of he two should be clear.
The hebrew and greek writings of the bible do deal with sex worship and the femine divine. But never in a positive context. Sex worship was practiced by Baal worshippers who also had no problems with sacrificing children on the altars. Within biblical law women were protected from sexual abuse and such. Paul’s declaration that a husband should love his wife as his own body was nothing short of revolutionary in an era where women were considered property instead of persons.
There is one other fundamental issue, but that should only bother christians who wonder if the Da Vinci Code has any merit. Christian faith is rooted in the belief that men is born in sin, and that salvation is possible by believing in the shed blood of christ. If Jesus never was executed, then his blood was never shed. Meaning no salvation. Meaning you can’t call yourself a Christian any more.
This still doesn’t explain the popularity of the book. Maybe people are attracted to the concept of sex worship. Quite understandable when the catholic church still holds on to celibacy and abstinence, when protestant churches struggle with the issues of gay and lesbian ministers and when Muslim martyrs blow themselves up to get their reward of 70 virgins. Not much fun for the average straight person. Now we just have to wait for the first Da Vinci Church to be opened.

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