Dan Brown. New York: Doubleday. 2003.
Why read it? For the fun of it. Robert Langdon, an archaeologist and symbologist, and Sophie Neveau, a police cryptographer, become caught up in a race to find the Holy Grail, which is not a cup, but papers that show Mary Magdalene to be the wife of Christ. I heard one person say that she was afraid to read this novel, because she might lose her faith in the Catholic Church.
However, it is just a novel, with numerous twists—people who are not what they seem, people they trust who turn into enemies, people who aggressively hunt them down but then become themselves victims. The goal of those who want the Holy Grail is to destroy the Catholic Church because if it were ever known that Christ married Magdalene and founded a line—to which Sophie learns she belongs—the male-dominated Church would be shown to be a lie. Christ, it is suggested in the novel, wanted his wife Mary Magdalene, to found his church, not the Apostles. If she had, it would have been a church dominated by the “sacred feminine,” not the male-dominated institution it has been throughout history.
In the end, Langdon finds the location of the Holy Grail in France, but he can “keep a secret.”
Many people, of course, have read the novel and probably seen the movie. However, would these readers select the same significant sentences as mine?
“The threat Mary Magdalene posed to the men of the early Church was potentially ruinous. Not only was she the woman to whom Jesus had assigned the task of founding the Church, but she also had physical proof that the Church’s newly proclaimed deity had spawned a mortal blood line. The Church, in order to defend itself against the Magdalene’s power, perpetuated her image as a whore and buried evidence of Christ’s marriage to her, thereby defusing any potential claims that Christ had a surviving bloodline and was a mortal prophet.” p. 254. ………. “The early Church feared that if Christ’s lineage were permitted to grow, the secret of Jesus and Magdalene would eventually surface and challenge the fundamental Catholic doctrine of a divine Messiah who did not consort with women or engage in sexual union.” p. 257. ………. “The quest for the Holy Grail is the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene. A Journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one.” p. 454.
Comment: Once again, as in Lolita, the theme overshadows the novel. The Da Vinci Code is an ordinary mystery novel with a shocking theme. And it probably made millions. If you’re going to write a book, don’t bother with details; just find a theme that shocks the public. The rest of the book won’t matter that much.
I left out some quotes dealing with sex. A bit too graphic for me. The gist of the idea is that men knew God first by sexual union with a woman, the first step in loving God. Langdon: “Man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God.” Sophie: “Orgasm as prayer?” RayS.