Tuesday, April 04, 2006


With the rampant success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in hardcover—(think about that one for a second; this is the biggest selling novel in history, and it did so in hardcover)—it is only to be expected that the controversy would continue swirling with the novel now released in both mass market paperback and trade paperback, and with the Ron Howard film coming to theaters next month.

In the Op-Ed section of the New York Times, best-selling novelist (and fellow International Thriller Writers member) Joseph Finder writes about the recent plagiarism case against Brown. Finder points out the irony that the entire case revolves around points of "history" that are, in fact, an elaborate hoax:

... it is fitting that the "hypothesis" in the Brown dispute was largely the invention of a French hoaxster named Pierre Plantard, who died in 2000 at age 80. During the 1960's, he and his collaborators planted forged parchments in the French national library, the Bibliothèque Nationale, to provide spurious support for Plantard's wild tale about Jesus and his bloodline.

And J. Mark Bertrand weighs in with an interesting essay about the rise of the "Paranoid Religious Thriller":

Consider the earlier mainstream success of the Left Behind books. These were also dogmatic thrillers, and they were gobbled up and read by believer and unbeliever alike. They're even credited with having converted people to the books' version of dispensational, evangelical Christianity, in the same way that The Da Vinci Code is feared to have swayed readers toward New Age gnosticism.

Also of note are two new websites created to aid in helping moviegoers navigate their way through the fact and ficton of The Da Vinci Code:

Focus on the Family is offering resources by top Christian scholars online at go.family.org/davinci to help moviegoers better understand and answer questions raised in the novel. The Web site compiles original content from key Christian leaders, including Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell.

Sony Pictures has also gotten in on the act, no doubt hoping to channel the inevitable backlash to the upcoming film. TheDaVinciChallenge.com includes essays from 45 Christian writers, scholars and leaders of evangelical organizations, including Hugh Hewitt and George Barna.

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