[BOOK REVIEW] Garry Williams, The Da Vinci Code: From Dan Brown’s Fiction to Mary Magdalene’s Faith, 2006

da-vinciThe Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was a bit of a runaway success a couple of years ago, and continues to sell well. A number of other books have been produced, arguing for and against the ‘findings’ of the novel (and we must remember that it is a novel), but Garry Williams with this book has deliberately produced a short, accessible book, which may only be a starting point.

The big positive he sees from these books, when the story is not just swallowed whole, is that it has rekindled an interest “in this man Jesus Christ” from those who maybe have never questioned “Who do you say I am?” We should never forget that God is big enough to put up with all the questions we throw at him (even if we don’t always see/hear the answers) – and that if the Christian faith can’t cope with that questioning then there is no point having it. I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I pray that when I’m asked I’ll know how to deal with them.

Whatever the literary merits of the book, Garry Williams focuses on the re-writing of history within this book. He argues that we can’t simply dismiss it as fiction because:

  • Lots of readers are taking it as non-fiction
  • Lots of reviewers, discussing an ‘intelligent’ novel are also taking it this way.
  • Dan Brown, whether simply for marketing, is claiming that it is history, not fiction.
  • There are a number of books on which the novel is based which make similar claims.

Williams deals with a number of Brown’s central claims and demonstrates how they are incorrect (p33). He also spends some time on demonstrating the historical reliability of Christian texts, and provides information where others can go further.

Prepared for use as an Oak Hall leader