A staggeringly popular work of fiction, Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code has stood atop The New York Times Bestseller List for well over a year, with millions of copies in print. But this fast-paced mystery is unusual in that the author states up front that the historical information in the book is all factually accurate. But is this claim true?
As historian Bart D. Ehrman shows in this informative and witty book, The Da Vinci Code is filled with numerous historical mistakes. Did the ancient church engage in a cover-up to make the man Jesus into a divine figure? Did Emperor Constantine for the New Testamentfrom some 80 contending Gospelsthe only four Gospels that stressed that Jesus was divine? Was Jesus Christ married to Mary Magdalene? Did the Church suppress Gospels that told the secret of their marriage? Bart Ehrman thoroughly debunks all of these claims. But the book is not merely a laundry list of Browns misreading of history. Throughout, Ehrman offers a wealth of fascinating background informationall historically accurateon early Christianity. He describes, for instance, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which are not Christian in content, contrary to The Da Vinci Code ); outlines in simple terms how scholars of early Christianity determine which sources are most reliable; and explores the many other Gospels that have been found in the last half century. Ehrman separates fact from fiction, the historical realities from the flights of literary fancy. Readers of The Da Vinci Code who would like to know the truth about the beginnings of Christianity and the life of Jesus will find this book riveting.
Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, N.C.
A very readable treatment of some very difficult themes.
- Publishers Weekly
"No less interesting than the book it is responding to.... An enjoyable and very accessible tour of a complex subject, Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code is a book that fans of Browns novel will no doubt find just as engaging."
- St Petersburg Times