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The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?
Lecture by W. Ward Gasque

Formats: DVD

Item# VER-155
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Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory and author Dan Brown spun a gem that started a trend of religious-mystery thriller novels with his fictional book The Da Vinci Code. By the end of 2005 the book had sold over 25 million copies worldwide in just four years, and a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman is scheduled to be released by Sony Pictures in May 2006 based on the book.

I love the opportunity Dan Brown has created with The Da Vinci Code to strike up a conversation with friends, family and total strangers about religion, art and history. But just how much of The Da Vinci Code is fact and how much is fiction? In his book review for the Boston Globe, David Mehegan states ?On his website and in interviews, Brown has not disavowed any of the history in the book. However, his foreword says, ?All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate,? which would seem to mean that everything else is freely invented?.Written in standard thriller style, with exotic settings, breathless chases, amazing escapes, and sudden plot reversals, The Da Vinci Code is as much fun as a James Bond movie and about as believable.?

However, an entire tourist industry has sprung up around the European locations described in the book, and tour guides are reporting that visitors frequently insist that everything in the book is 100 percent fact. If you want to be part of the cultural conversation, that is sure to intensify when the movie is released in May 2006, you need to watch this lecture by noted theologian and author, Dr. W. Ward Gasque.

Just how many of the "facts" in The Da Vinci Code are actually true? Have you been itching to know whether the Priori of Sion has really been a centuries-old closely guarded secret that only Dan Brown has been able to uncover? Or perhaps you are more interested in the accuracy of Dan Brown?s artistic knowledge. Did Leonardo really paint in a woman as the twelfth disciple? If not the art, then perhaps the theology behind the book caught your attention with the mentioning of the Gnostic gospels and Mary Magdalene as the head of the original church. Did Jesus marry and have a child, and are his physical descendants alive in the world today? Whatever your question may be about the ?facts? behind this ?fictional? work, this lecture will most likely address it.

Ward Gasque thoroughly covers the historical people, places, and ideas in this lecture, laying out the evidence in a straightforward manner and giving the viewer the final say on how the evidence should be interpreted. For instance, did Leonardo?s journals contain secret codes and messages? Gasque explains that Leonardo?s journals were written in common Italian, but from right to left instead of the opposite method employed today. This is logical seeing as Leonardo was left handed. His journals are still on display today and can be read easily with the help of a bathroom mirror, but no secret codes or messages have been uncovered in his journals. Along with the hard evidence, Gasque also appeals to the viewer?s common sense with logical arguments as to why a Catholic conspiracy as offered by Dan Brown would not exist. One such argument is that the Catholic Church was not even prominent in the first few centuries. The Eastern Church was the main focus of the early Christian movement, and therefore would have already possessed any information that the Catholic Church attempted to hide. Even if you haven?t read The Da Vinci Code, this lecture may prove quite fascinating and enlightening for it?s in depth look at a broad range of historical subjects. The video ends with a short question and answer period by the audience.

I would encourage you to read the book, watch the movie, watch this lecture by Ward Gasque, and then strike up a conversation with those around you about the significance of the story. Dan Brown has raised the issues. It?s up to you to continue the conversation.

W. Ward Gasque has dedicated his life to making theology accessible. He is a graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois, USA) (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (California, USA) (BD, MTh), and Manchester University (PhD), where his research was guided by the late F. F. Bruce. He is the author of two books, editor of four collections of essays, two biblical commentary series, and has written more than 200 articles and essays, along with numerous book reviews.

Gasque is President of Pacific Association for Theological Studies and founder of the Center for Innovation in Theological Education, Seattle. Frequently in demand as a teacher and consultant, he has lectured on the campuses of more than 50 universities, colleges and schools of theology and has visited 70+ countries. He is married to Laurel Gasque, a cultural historian, lecturer, writer and student worker, with whom he has one daughter, Michelle, who works in film making. This talk was given October 19, 2005, at UC Santa Barbara.

Length: 1 hour 37 minutes

Related Item: Read a review of Darrell Bock’s expose book Breaking The Da Vinci Code

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