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The Davinci Code


flowperson
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Well I guess that it was inevitable that this would happen now that the release of the movie based upon Dan Brown's book is only a few months away.

 

In today's media-driven world, there are always those who seem to want to control the future by restricting what we all have the right to consume and think about. In this case the target is impressionable children. Of course we heard nothing like this when Mr. Gibson's film was released. I didn't see it, but I understand that it was quite violent. Is there "good" violence and "bad" violence ?

 

It would make more sense to me for Opus Dei to openly campaign against gun possession and violent video game use by children in the inner cities; but, I guess that wouldn't fit with the agendas of those who seem to value violence and death over curiosity and inquiry when it comes to religion and morals. The interviewee seems to indicate that children are protected from explicit sex and violence, but in my opinion there's more of both around all the time these days for children to access.

 

I would take specific issue with several of the points made by the spokesman for Opus Dei, especially with regard to the changing image distribution strategies nullifying a large degree of parental control over what children can watch these days when a film is released. But then what's the point ?

 

The point is always about how conservative institutions can find ways to control those that they perceive need to be controlled. This strategy always ends up badly as history has taught us.

  

 

 

Rome - Controversial Catholic group Opus Dei has called for the forthcoming film version of The Da Vinci Code to be given an adult rating to prevent children being influenced by its "insidious" lies about the Catholic Church.

 

"Just as we protect children from explicit sex and violence, it would seem to make sense to protect them from violence that is more subtle and thus more insidious," said Marc Carroggio, a spokesperson for the body in Rome.

 

"Any adult with a minimum of education can distinguish reality from fiction. But when history is manipulated, you cannot expect a child to make proper judgements," he added.

 

"Merely adding a disclaimer that says 'fiction' is not enough."

 

Making the best of the situation

 

Carroggio told the Catholic news agency Zenit in an interview he did not believe the film, which will be released in May, would impact negatively on the organisation, but would be "a sort of indirect publicity for us".

 

"An effort is being made to take advantage of the great interest aroused ... in Jesus Christ," the agency quotes him as saying.

 

"Although the story is absurd and at times somewhat humourous, it produces a hateful image of the institution and it is well known that hateful images like this produce feelings of hatred in those who lack a critical sense," Carroggio said.

 

But he said Opus Dei would make no "declaration of war" against the film as it would only help its marketing.

 

"No one is going to make threats or organise boycotts, or anything like that," he said.

 

Opus Dei members would react like other Christians to the film and would "use the lemon to make lemonade".

 

Opus Dei, which has a chiefly lay membership estimated at more than 80 000 worldwide, has aroused controversy because of charges that it is secretive and socially ultra-conservative.

 

 

flow :o

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As much as I did enjoy the book for many reasons, and am looking forward to the movie, I do understand that some people are concerned about the way it completely revises the past. Sure, it's fiction, but it dovetails with so much bad historical scholarship going on in "Early Christian Studies" right now, that a spiritually immature and historically naive population is eating it up, and not thinking too much about the fiction/history boundary too much. God knows I don't have any naive belief in the "official" traditional history of Christianity; but people need to know that the "alternative" history presented in The DaVinci Code is no less mythological and symbolic than the "official" one.

 

As for protecting children against anti-Catholic propaganda, hey, I grew up Fundamentalist -- the ultimate anti-Catholic propaganda machine! Nobody protected me! B)

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I loved the book, except for a few geeky things, like that the cyptographer could not read backward writing-- how wierd is that! I can read upside down, backward, etc writing. I think anybody who is into puzzles could. Anyway, bad history. But there are a few points that are interesting-- not that you would have to go to Dan Brown to get them, but the view of Mary M. If anyone *was* married to Jesus, it was Mary M. Of course who knows??

 

 

I liked the thing about the alternate mythology. Of course since I think mythos is truth (or can be, of course) where does that leave me. ;-)

 

--des

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am adding a post to this seemingly dormant thread because I believe that this whole episode will do alot to define who is afraid of change and who is not.

 

This article appeared on the NYTimes site today, and it seems that the conceptual debate is being ratcheted up another notch or two in order to:

1. Short circuit or encourage possible questioning of the film's content before it is released in May;

2. Bolster traditional versions of the life of Jesus and its position and meaning in history;

3. Create positive impressions of the actions and activities of conservative Christians within public opinion prior to the film's release in order to insure their scholarly primacy in the debate about the film's content and assertions about the life of Christ and the church that He founded.

 

Please read it. I believe that you'll find it to be very interesting. It looks like a massive and well-funded assault upon the marketplace of public opinion is building. The white guys are arguing, and I believe that it's going to be a doozy !

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/movies/09davi.html

 

 

Flow.... :rolleyes:

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I read it. Can't wait to see the movie! I still have to read the book, though. I love the comment about "how we know Jesus didn't get married" How could they possibly KNOW? We don't know anything about Jesus from the age of 12 to 30! It seems to me it is most likely he was married at some point. As I understand it all Jewish males married around 18 rather they wanted to or not!

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  • 3 months later...

Gnostic priest addresses Da Vinci Code controversy

 

By Mark Browne

Victoria News

May 26 2006

 

Even followers of Gnosticism have something to say about The Da Vinci Code.

 

But the Capital Region's only ordained Gnostic priest doesn't have the same concerns as conservative Christians angered by Dan Brown's novel and the movie based on the book. While many have suggested that The Da Vinci Code is rooted in Gnosticism, Jordan Stratford says that isn't the case. Stratford's position is explained in his just-released book, The da Vinci Prayerbook.

 

Many Christians denounce The Da Vinci Code for its premise that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that the couple had children. The novel and film takes the view, which is consistent with the fourth century Arians, that Jesus was a man and not a divine figure.

 

Gnostics, on the other hand, consider the image of Jesus to be a purely spiritual being, according to Stratford.

 

"Purely spiritual beings tend not to have children," he said.

 

However, Stratford stressed that the notion of Jesus as a spiritual being - and all of the other stories about Christ - should be viewed in a strictly metaphorical sense.

 

"Gnosticism does not rely on historical literalism in the same way that Christianity does," Stratford explained. "Let's ask the bigger question about what this stuff means."

 

The idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene can be understood as myth that conveys the "marriage" between Christian tradition and the older religions of the divine feminine, he said. Moreover, that marriage can be interpreted as a balance between the masculine and the feminine.

 

"Gnosticism teaches that Mary Magdalene is an expression of the myth of Sophia, the goddess of wisdom and of the holy spirit."

 

The idea of the sacred feminine was quite prevalent until the fourth century when the Roman church opted for a more patriarchal approach to Christianity with a sole emphasis on Jesus and a de-emphasis on Mary Magdalene.

 

There's no way of knowing with any certainty whether Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that they had children, Stratford said. At the same time, it's irrelevant whether that hypothesis is true as he reiterates that it's all about the metaphorical meaning.

 

All that said, myths surrounding the history of Christianity have an important purpose.

 

"It invites the reader into a mythic space where they can sort these things out for themselves," Stratford said. "These things aren't valuable because they are literally true. They are valuable because they are beautiful."

 

Gnosticism has been around for the past 2,200 years.

 

It's a religion that greatly influenced early Christianity, Islam and medieval Judaism, he pointed out. The origins of Gnosticism occurred in a community of Greek-speaking and educated Jews living in Egypt. The religion is essentially a blend of Jewish mysticism, Greek philosophy and the mystery religions of the ancient world, Stratford said.

 

Gnosticism is similar to Buddhism in that it stresses personal responsibility, compassion and enlightenment, he said.

 

The 40-year old has been a practicing Gnostic for the past 18 years and now oversees a congregation of 12. Stratford is a priest with the Apostolic Johannite Church. That branch of Gnosticism was established in 1770 by Freemasons, he pointed out. While people of all religions can be members of the Freemasons, there is a strong historical connection to Gnosticism, according to Stratford, a Freemason himself.

 

People of different religious faiths can also be followers of Gnosticism, he said. Gnosticism is particularly suitable for creative people because of the poetic nature of the stories encompassed by the faith.

 

"Imagination is prized as a Gnostic value," Stratford said.

 

While Stratford has concerns about the common perception that The Da Vinci Code is inherently Gnostic, he's quick to point out that the release of the novel and subsequent film is a positive development despite opposition by many conservative Christians.

 

"It's a starting point for discussion. I don't think anybody should be threatened by debate and dialogue."

 

For more information on Stratford's book, see the website, www.thedavinciprayerbook.com.

 

BCNG Portals Page

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I think that Dan Brown choosing Opus Dei was a stroke of brilliance. If someone WOULD have covered up such a thing, they seem the perfect group. BTW, I have heard them defending themselves of late. You'd think it was a soccer group or something. One thing I thought was pretty odd, one of them said well no one would misuse the silus (sp?) or "discipline" as this would be frowned upon by their spiritual director who directs all their activities, said that right after saying they were free in all things. Hmm. I also heard an interview by a woman who was "rescued" from Opus Dei by an intervention. While she felt Dan Brown sensationalized O.D., the total obedience thing struck a cord.

 

Not that I think they DID cover up anything. The biggest thing to cover up these days is priests molesting little boys. And OD isn't doing that.

 

BTW, I see no problem with Mary being Jesus' wife and think that the idea of the sacred feminine (and a hidden tradition of this) is one of the major draws of the book.

 

BTW, can't claim this quote is at all original but... "Personally, I think it's hilarious to see attempts at "de-bunking" The DaVinci Code made by people who believe in talking snakes and virgin births." :-)

 

 

 

--des

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I swear the Opus Dei didn't actually read the book. Brown says several times in the book that extremism is rare (of self-abuse). Silas is obviously unusual in his practice. I had a very negative view of the Opus Dei until I read the book. Now, while I disagree with them, as they are portrayed in the book, I don't have any out-and-out objection to them.

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Gnostic priest addresses Da Vinci Code controversy

 

Rev. Stratford (from the article) has an interesting blog at http://egina.blogspot.com/ He's an interesting guy with a sharp mind. He's a Sophian Gnostic, ordained by and active in the Apostolic Johannite Church, and wrote an interesting book called the Da Vinci Prayer Book http://thedavinciprayerbook.com/ that does more justice to Gnosticism (than Mr. Brown).

 

I also think he's the one that described Gnosticism (or at least the current group of active Gnostic churches) as Catholic on the outside and Buddhist on the inside. :D

Edited by Gnosteric
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I haven't read the book or seen the movie yet, but I want to. Personally, I don't think Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Scholars have pointed out that married women would have taken on their husbands name, or something like that, if I remember correctly. Her using her hometown(Magdala) indicates she probably wasn't married. I do, however, think Jesus was probably married to *someone*.

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Yes, I think the character of the albino monk, can't get any more characterized than that, wasn't even portrayed as a full character. He was supposed to be an extremist and not typical of anything. He used the conservative order, but wasn't really following it either.

And I agree the real Opus Dei misses the point. But I think they feel that whenever Opus Dei is mentioned people will think of him, which they might. I don't know anybody from Opus Dei and just heard of them in passing, I think.

 

One interpretation of Mary's name is not "of the town of Magedela" but means "tower".

Otherwise, if she were married to Jesus she would have taken on his name.

 

 

--des

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des:

 

You're right about the portrayal of the albino monk. There was an interesting bit on the BBC last week. It seems that The Albino Fellowship in the UK is officially protesting the portrayal as being unecessarily violent and negative. Well...it IS a movie.

 

Also, you're right about the root meaning of "Magdalene". Only I found that the roots trace back to an understanding in my Strong's Concordance of, "bitter woman of the tower".

 

It's also very clever of Mr. Brown to name his heroine, the descendant of the Magdalene and Jesus, Sophie, automatically identifying her with the essence of the sacred feminine in antiquity. Pyramids, in Mr. Howard's opinion, seem to also identify with this theme because of his emphasis of the form in the final scenes of the film at the I.M. Pei pyramidal installations at the Louvre.

 

Thanks for the great article AR !

 

flow.... :rolleyes:

Edited by flowperson
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des:

 

You're right about the portrayal of the albino monk. There was an interesting bit on the BBC last week. It seems that The Albino Fellowship in the UK is officially protesting the portrayal as being unecessarily violent and negative. Well...it IS a movie.

They also miss the point. It was the way he was treated (as an outcast) that made it so he could later be used.

 

And in the end he comes to realize that he had made wrong choices.

 

He is a very sympathetic character and noone is going to come away from the book or the movie thinking Albino's are violent or evil. If anything they will hopefully see that their negative actions have long term effects on others.

 

Some of these responses remind me of the certain group(s) who came out against the Jodie Foster movie because it portrayed a flight attendant as a terrorist; apparently all people would then think all flight attendants were terrorists. :rolleyes: Honestly, some people need to find something worthy cause to boycott!

 

It is different if you take a stereotype that is already in place and use it, but to think it is going to create a stereotype...

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I haven't read the book or seen the movie yet, but I want to. Personally, I don't think Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Scholars have pointed out that married women would have taken on their husbands name, or something like that, if I remember correctly. Her using her hometown(Magdala) indicates she probably wasn't married. I do, however, think Jesus was probably married to *someone*.

 

I'm inclined to agree with you.

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