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Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci & Gnosticism

The Banty Rooster offers some of the more insightful comments I've seen on Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code, particularly in regard to his understanding of Gnosticism.
...this is precisely what Brown argues in the Da Vinci Code: that the ancient Gnostics wrote gospels emphasizing the humanity of Christ, and the church, under the sway of Constantine, suppressed them because they believed in Christ's divinity.

There's one little problem with that thesis that not many people have picked up on: the Gnostics did not believe Jesus was human. At all. Period. Zip. Nada. Nicht. Niet. "Gnostic" orthodoxy, if you will, is that Jesus is a semi-divine intermediary between God and the world, and, since matter is "evil," in their view, then he could not have been human.
The best way to demolish the Da Vinci Code is to point out that it was the ancient Gnostics who emphasized Jesus as "divine" and the very point the orthodox Church drove home time and again in the early-century debates was the humanity of Christ. Read Irenaeus and Tertullian some time on the incarnation.

We need to tell people: you want a human Jesus? Gnosticism will not satsify; only orthodoxy will get you that! And a whole lot more.
Did you catch that second to last paragraph? If not, read it again. Slowly.

Brown's premise (in a highly simplified nutshell) is that Christians got it wrong in deifying Jesus; the real story lies with the Gnostics, who recognized he was just human (and married, and had kids, all so Dan Brown could make a mint on it down the road). In fact, however, it was the Christian's who were insisting on Christ's humanity. Kudos to Banty for stating the matter so clearly...

ADDENDUM: While we're talking about the Da Vinci Code, you simply must read Internet Monk's review of the movie (now THIS is how you write a goood review, imho). [HT: Foolishsage]


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