25 April 2006 - Tuesday

Still don't get it

Now that I've finished reading The Da Vinci Code, I am no closer than ever to understanding the hubbub surrounding the book.

First, I do not entirely understand the novel's popularity; the writing is not uniformly bad, but it is never really good. I suppose I can appreciate the book as a cheap thrill. I won't deny being entertained as the book progressed, but there are better novels to read. I have several within arm's reach right now. They are crying out for my attention.

Second, I do not understand how anyone could mistake the book's speculations for legitimate scholarship. For goodness' sake, the novel's leading "historian" actually identifies (p. 234) the Dead Sea Scrolls as heterodox Christian gospels. That's about like having a scholar casually remark that the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Third, because of such shoddiness, I still cannot get myself worked up about the book in quite the way many other Christians can. Sure, I recognize that some members of the public seem to be embracing Brown's ideas ... and I suppose that means the church should be prepared to respond somehow. But I can't help thinking that the only response that will do any long-term good is to teach people what real scholarship looks like. I'm afraid any immediate apologetic campaign we can come up with is just going to be that much more publicity for the franchise -- publicity that could encourage the public to take the book's allegations seriously, as the academic world simply does not.

| Posted by Wilson at 13:36 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Humanities Desk