On an Uninformed Rant

Let’s talk The da Vinci Code for a moment.

I’m really tired of hearing about it. Movie, book, what have you. No, I haven’t read the book. No, I’m not particularly interested in seeing the film. But it’s been inescapable for the past few months–television specials on the secrets the story reveals, huge freaking displays at bookstores, lengthy articles in the newspaper about what the film means for one’s Christian faith. One local review of the film said that some Christians, perhaps many, will be offended by the film’s assertion that Jesus was married and fathered children, with his descendents ultimately founding the Merovingian line of kings.

I’m not a Christian. Am I, too, allowed to be offended by The da Vinci Code?

I’m offended by the assertion that Jesus was an historical personage. There’s no evidence that he existed at all. The only contemporary reference to Jesus outside the New Testament in the writings of Josephus have been demolished by historians as interpolations and forgeries added to the texts by later Christian copyists.

I’m offended by the misreading of history in The da Vinci Code–the Merovingians were a line of pagan kings, not becoming Christian until Clovis converted for political reasons in the sixth century. One would think that if the Merovingians were descended from Jesus that they would have a very sound reason not to be pagan.

I’m offended by Tom Hanks’ continued march down the path of serious drama. Whatever happened to the Tom Hanks that made nutty comedies like The Money Pit, The ‘burbs, and Joe Versus the Volcano?

I will say this for The da Vinci Code. It’s put me in the mood to reread Preacher, the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon comic book. What’s the connection? Both The da Vinci Code and Preacher feature descendents of Jesus, though in Preacher‘s case they’re barely-verbal, inbred hicks rathan than Audrey Tautou. Perhaps some good has come of The da Vinci Code after all.

So, there. An uninformed rant on a film I’ve not seen, a book I’ve not read. đŸ™‚

6 thoughts on “On an Uninformed Rant

  1. Heya!

    >

    I’d have to disagree with the assertion that no evidence exists for Jesus’s very existence. Yes, the writings of Josephus were altered by Christians who wanted him to acknowledge Jesus’s status as the Jewish Messiah. But most scholars–even the decidedly secular ones–agree that Josephus did mention Jesus of Nazareth and his minor insurrection during the Passover, though it obviously wasn’t a particularly important event to him, other than that it spawned a small (at the time) cult following.

    Of course, Josephus wasn’t a witness to that event. Neither were two of the four purported authors of the New Testament gospels, nor the most prolific New Testament author, Paul of Tarsus. However, Paul is universally accepted to have been a real person, and the actual author of at least half of the epistles that claim his authorship.

    Paul’s earliest letters were written just 15-20 years after Jesus’s presumed death (which was c. 30-36 C.E.), at which time the Christ cult was thriving. If Jesus never actually existed, the only possible explanation is that Paul made him up and created the cult himself. But then Paul’s travels with other early Christian leaders–most notably the apostle Peter, who founded the Catholic church as the first “Pope” and was often involved in heated disagreements with Paul–are difficult to reconcile unless we begin to argue that more and more of the ancilliary church fathers were mythological as well.

    Certainly I grant you that most of the details of Jesus’s life and ministry were embellished and/or borrowed from other legendary figures. Heck, most of the Christian sacraments were lifted directly from the Persian cult of Mithraism. But the simplest explanation for the stunningly quick rise of Christianity in Palestine is that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed a charismatic figure who gained a following, and was subsequently martyred.

    Always happy to discuss further–this is a hobby of mine!

    Cheers,
    Geoff

  2. Nothing should send you to read Garth Ennis.

    “continued march”…dude..he’s been doing dramas for what 10 years? Bonfire of the Vanaties, which could be his first big serious movie, was in 1990…I’d say the march is done and he’s all encamped now.

  3. And what, pray tell, is the problem with Garth Ennis?

    As for Hanks, he’s been doing serious dramas for fifteen years now. While I like them generally, what I really miss are the stupid sort of comedies he used to do, the ones he doesn’t have to do now because he’s become Mr. Success as a serious, dramatic, Jimmy Stewart-like actor. The man has comedic gifts, but he’s wasting them on pap like The da Vinci Code, that’s all I’m saying.

  4. I’ve always heard that Peter Scolari was game for a Bosom Buddies revival.

    Let’s be honest, though. Outside of Bosom Buddies and Newhart, Scolari hasn’t had much of a career….

  5. Scolari did show up on an epiosde of The West Wing. And he was the dad on the TV series of Honey I Shrunk The Kids.

    As for Garth Ennis…nothing’s wrong with him, other than he makes Warren Ellis look like the master of differentiated characters and themes.

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