Friday, March 10, 2006

Da Vinci Code vs. Catholic Church

I admit that I read and enjoyed the Da Vinci Code. But it was far from being great literature. It is a simple book, based on an interesting possibility from a couple of historians, and it is far from well-written. It was a fun piece of pop fluff. I enjoyed it. But this brouhaha over it and other books by the Catholic and some Protestant Churches is just ridiculous. It is fiction, and they are arguing against it like it is a historical truth. The latest:

Is another absurdist religious attack on art, if we dare call the book that. Which, actually, I don't.

The web page says: "The Da Vinci Code novel contains a claim that in Leonardo's mural The Last Supper, which portrays Jesus and his twelve apostles at the meal he took with them on the night before he died, one of the twelve is not the apostle John but actually a woman who is Mary Magdalene." And then goes on to argue about it.

Let us dissect this for a moment. "...novel contains a claim..."

It is a novel. Great Jebus help us. Other novels make fantastical claims. We don't argue about them. We suspend our disbelief, and read them. And we enjoy them, they stimulate thought, dialogue, or they inspire. Or not. One of my all-time favorite novels is Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. Because of the book's "claims," do I believe that the Templars are about to culminate their evil plans against the world? Or because I love Hugh Lofting, do I REALLY believe that Doctor Doolittle can talk to the animals?

But, I bet the publishers are stoked. It probably is boosting sales of The Da Vinci Code.

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