The Da Vinci Code, Jesus, and history: imagining Christianity past and present

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J. Jeffery Tyler


Did Jesus of Nazareth have a wife? Did he father a child and a lineage of kings? Do his blood descendants even now walk among us? Is the Christian messiah the victim of a tragic conspiracy, a vicious and masculine plot to conceal the true gospel and hijack the church? These are the claims of Dan Brown’s unlikely and wildly popular novel, The Da Vinci Code. This cliff-hanger and page-turner weaves together alleged fact and frenetic fiction in a succession of 105 rapid-fire chapters; it is a magnetic mystery and a narrative confession of faith. Should this novel and its stunning claims be taken seriously? Will the hype surrounding it soon blow over, only to be replaced by the next outlandish “big thing”? Every cultural, media, and economic indicator suggests that The Da Vinci Code is here to stay for the foreseeable future. In fact, the novel has garnered a significant global following, generating a fervent subculture and early signs of an embryonic religion. Indeed, The Da Vinci Code has significant implications not only for theologians and historians, but even more so for pastors and lay people, for discipleship and evangelism. It is vital to understand the international media event spawned by The Da Vinci Code, the book’s profound reimagining of Jesus of Nazareth and his message, and the cultural and religious currents in which church, believer, and seeker now swim.

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Tyler, J. J. (2006). The Da Vinci Code, Jesus, and history: imagining Christianity past and present. Reformed Review, 59(3), 261-282. Retrieved from
Brown, Dan, 1964- Da Vinci code; Jesus Christ -- In literature; Mary Magdalene, Saint -- In literature; Christianity in literature