I finally got around to taking my son to see The Da Vinci Code. At 12, he is a voracious (dare I say precocious?) reader, and after reading the book, he was quite anxious to see the movie.
Now, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so both of you out there who haven’t seen the movie or read the book STOP READING NOW!
OK. To summarize, the story involves several threads revolving around the premise that Jesus was married to Mary Magdaline, and she bore Him a daughter after the crucifixion. This certainly interferes with the concept of Jesus’ divinity, and so the Vatican has tried mightily over the years to suppress this, whilst the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar attempted to protect Jesus’ descendants. Got all that? I’m really simplifying things here. The movie goes on to implicate a strict Catholic order, the Opus Dei, in several murders designed to quash the Priory once and for all.
There are probably a thousand web sites out there that dissect the arguments, and the “facts” of the movie in tremendous detail, and I won’t even try it here. Suffice it to say that the movie is enjoyable in a plodding, mystery-story fashion, and it was fairly true to Dan Brown’s book. I would recommend you read the book first to be able to follow the plot-twists.
The book and movie have caused great consternation, or at least a lot of discussion in the Christian community, and I can understand that. Coming from the Jewish viewpoint, I don’t find the concepts particularly offensive. Judaism does not accept the divinity of Jesus in the first place; rather most of us consider Him to have been a great rabbi, perhaps the first Reform rabbi, and possibly a Prophet in His own right. You will notice very few bachelors among the Jewish characters of the Old Testament; it was tradition for the best and brightest to marry and have lots of children (be fruitful and multiply, as they say), and so it would not be surprising for a rabbi or great teacher to have done so. Think of this as the world’s first eugenics program: you want to breed your best stock. I can only speculate as to why the Catholic Church took the exact opposite approach with their clergy.
I guess I can’t comment with any great passion on how the “truth” as concocted in the Da Vinci Code would affect Christianity. Much evil has been done in the name of Christianity (the Inquisition, the Crusades, for example), but I would be so bold as to say that overall the good deeds over history outweigh the bad. Nobody is keeping score as far as I know. I realize that the divinity of Jesus is a fundamental tennant of modern Christianity, but even if it were not the case, His teachings would probably still be relevant. Basically, they were a softening of the fairly harsh version of Orthodox Judaism practiced in His day, and one could almost say that we Reform Jews are closer in spirit to what Jesus taught than anyone else. How about that?
I have tried and tried to tie this whole thing into PACS, and I’m coming up short. Maybe we could use the Cryptex to enter our passwords?