Truth and Fiction in The "Da Vinci Code": A Historian Reveals What we Really Know About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine

Truth and Fiction in The "Da Vinci Code": A Historian Reveals What we Really Know About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine

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By (author) Bart D. Ehrman

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 206mm x 20mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 18 May 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195307135
  • ISBN 13: 9780195307139
  • Sales rank: 1,265,879

Product description

A staggeringly popular work of fiction, Dan Brown's 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 select for the New Testament-from some 80 contending Gospels-the 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 Brown's misreading of history. Throughout, Ehrman offers a wealth of fascinating background information-all historically accurate-on 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.

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Author information

Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An authority on the early Church and the life of Jesus, he has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and other television and radio shows. He has taped several highly popular lecture series for the "Teaching Company" and is the author of Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (OUP, 1999), Lost Christianities (OUP, 2004) and Lost Scriptures (OUP, 2004).

Review quote

It should be compulsory reading alongside the original, before Rosslyn Chapel is entirely wrecked by tourists. Simon Jenkins, The Guardian Anyone worried or puzzled about the theological issues raised by Dan Brown could do worse than read Bar D Ehrman's Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code, a lucid, unagressive book by the chairman of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, who actually enjoyed the novel. Philip French, The Observer Hats off to OUP...Bart D Ehrman's Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code is the must-read paperback in the launch week of the movie. Observer Review Anyone worried or puzzled about the theological issues raised by Dan Brown could do worse than read Bart D Ehrman's Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, a lucid unaggressive book by the chairman of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, who actually enjoyed the novel. Philip French, Observer