THE DA VINCI CODE
by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry
© Copyright 2006
Author of Scrolls and Stones: Compelling Evidence
the Bible Can Be Trusted
Tonight I want to talk to you about The Da Vinci Code. Surely, by now, you've heard of it. The Da Vinci Code [henceforth DVC] is the name of a book written by Dan Brown. It was released in March of 2003. As of 2006, three years since its publication, the book has:
● sold approximately 60 million copies
● been translated into 45 different languages
● become the biggest selling novel in the history of the world
● earned Dan Brown more than $355 million
The book is a fictional book and I normally don't spend my time trying to refute fictional books. But the author of this book says that many of the details discussed in the book are based on historical facts. Dan Brown says: “One of the many qualities that makes The Da Vinci Code unique is the factual nature of the story. All the history, artwork, ancient documents, and secret rituals in the novel are accurate––as are the hidden codes revealed in some of Da Vinci's most famous paintings.” [Source]
And Dan doesn't stop there. Over and over in the DVC, he goes on to assert that the historical information he shares with his reader is supported by:
● “religious historians” (p. 36)
● “well-documented history” (pp. 88, 113)
● “art historians” (p. 134)
● “all academics” (p. 158)
● “well-documented evidence” (p. 217)
● and “scores of historians” (p. 253)
The book launches repeated attacks against Christian beliefs, even going so far as to say: "Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false." So, that is why I want to address the book. It has been adversely influencing the way millions of people around the world think about Jesus and the Bible.
We'll examine some quotes right from the book and then respond to them. First, an overview of the plot...
Overview of The Da Vinci Code
The DVC is a modern day murder mystery. The book begins with the mysterious murder of a museum curator at the Louvre in Paris. The Louvre is the famous museum that houses the Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. This murder leads the book’s two main characters, Robert Langdon (a Harvard professor, played by Tom Hanks) and Sophie Neveu, on a pursuit all over France and England trying to solve the murder.
As they try to unravel the mystery of this murder, they discover numerous so called facts about Christianity that Dan Brown says have been suppressed by the Catholic Church for the past 2,000 years but secretly handed down by a secret society known as the Priory of Sion.
According to Dan Brown, this secret society is an actual organization that has existed since 1099. It has included such well known persons as:
● Isaac Newton
(1642-1747, mathematician, physicist, scientific intellect, discoverer of the universal laws of gravitation)
● Leonardo da Vinci
(1452-1519, painter, architect, engineer, mathematician and philosopher)
Since the release of the book, it has been largely documented by a variety of scholars and historians, that Dan Brown based what he said about the Priory of Sion, on documents that were exposed in a French court in 1967 as having been forged by a man by the name of Pierre Plantard. The BBC (a European News Agency) did a television special in 1996 that helped expose the fact that Plantard’s writings about the Priory of Sion were actually part of an elaborate hoax. CBS's Sixty Minutes also did a special a few weeks ago on the Priory of Sion and stated the same thing, calling Plantard’s list of members “fictitious.” No historian has ever found any evidence that the Priory of Sion existed before Plantard set up his version in 1956.
In spite of these facts, Dan Brown asserts that Leonardo Da Vinci (who supposedly belonged to this secret society) hid clues or codes, that could overturn Christianity as we know it, in his painting of “The Last Supper.”
And thus we have the title of the book, The Da Vinci Code.
One of the hidden “codes” that Dan Brown says exists in The Last Supper is to the left of Jesus. According to Dan Brown, the person immediately to the left of Jesus is not a depiction of the apostle John as art historians have told us but it is actually a depiction of Jesus’ wife, Mary Magdalene.
Question for Dan Brown: If that is supposed to be Jesus’ wife, and if this is a painting of the Last Supper, at which all of the disciples were present (Matt. 26:20), why are there only 12 people seated with Jesus, instead of 13? Stay with me on this. If that is Jesus’ wife, there should be 13 people at the table with Jesus (12 disciples + 1 wife = 13 people with Jesus). How many are there? Let's count them.
There's twelve! Someone came up to me after I taught this a while back and he said, "Well, maybe Mary was there! Perhaps she's the one who took the photo!" I wasn't quite sure what to say as he turned and walked off. I wanted to yell to him, "It's a painting!"
Now, granted, this person to the left of Jesus does look a little less manly than the other disciples, but so does Jesus for that matter!
Why would Leonardo Da Vinci paint the apostle John to look this way (without a beard and with long wavy red hair)? That is how John “the apostle of love” was commonly depicted by other artists in Da Vinci’s day. Notice John here below in this painting of The Last Supper in 1447 (by Andrea Del Castagno), 50 years prior to Da Vinci’s painting:
Here is another painting of the Last Supper in 1480, by Domenico Ghirlandaio:
Now, you don’t have to take my word for it that Da Vinci's painting does not include Jesus’ 'wife,' you can take Da Vinci’s word for it. In his preliminary sketches of this painting, he actually tells us the names and locations of each of the disciples. And guess what? He tells us that this is John, not Mary Magdalene.
One last thought regarding this: What in the world does a painting that comes along 1,500 years after Jesus’ life prove anyway? Even if that was a depiction of a woman, that in no way proves Jesus was married. We’ll talk more about Jesus’ supposed marriage to Mary Magdalene later on in our study.
One of the challenges in putting together an hour long study on this book was deciding which errors to address.
The book is jam-packed with historical error, deception, and a variety of falsehoods. There are easily 50 or more passages in the book that contain errors of one sort or another. Obviously, we will only have time to look at a handful or two of these. I’ve broken down some of the errors in the book into five categories. You can remember them with the acronym: C.O.D.E.S.
Five Categories of Errors (C.O.D.E.S.)
First we’ll see that Dan Brown errs when he speaks of the...
1. Corruption of the Scriptures
2. Origin of the Deity of Christ
3. Development of Sunday Worship
4. Establishment of the Canon of Scripture
5. Singleness of our Lord
First, let's consider how the book errs when it speaks of...
1. The Corruption of the Scriptures
Brown asserts in his book: “The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” (p. 231)
Obviously, we would agree with the first part of this statement ("The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds").
The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 1:21: "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Men wrote the Bible, yes, but they were holy men who were guided by the Holy Spirit (also see 2 Timothy 3:16).
We also know that the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts of the Bible have been translated into numerous translations.The Wycliffe Bible Translation members and their coworkers alone have translated the New Testament into 578 languages. But for Dan Brown to continue the popular myth that the Bible we have today is unreliable because it has “evolved” through numerous “additions, and revisions” betrays the fact that Brown is ignorant of the facts surrounding the transmission of the Biblical text or has purposefully thrown the facts aside to advance his own agenda.
There are two pools of evidence that prove the text of the Bible has been accurately handed down to us: the manuscript evidence and the writings of the church fathers. First the manuscript evidence.
What is a manuscript? A manuscript is any surviving hand-written copy of an ancient document that predates the invention of the printing press in 1455. Before the printing press, Bibles were meticulously copied by Jewish scribes and Christian monks. Today there survives more some 25,000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament, not to mention thousands of copies of the Old Testament...many of them predating the time of Christ. Did you realize that? We have copies of the Old Testament that were around from before Jesus was born. Let me tell you quickly how they were found. It's an amazing story.
In 1947 a shepherd boy tending his father's sheep in Qumran, north and to the west of the Dead Sea in Israel, made an amazing discovery while looking for a lost goat. There in Qumran, in a hillside cave that had laid untouched for nearly two thousand years, this twelve-year-old Muslim boy discovered a collection of large clay jars containing carefully wrapped leather manuscripts. What this boy stumbled upon was an ancient collection of handwritten copies of the Old Testament that dated as far back as the third century before Christ. This was truly an amazing discovery!
Archaeologists spent years searching the surrounding caves. By the time they were done, copies of every book of the Old Testament had been discovered (with the exception of Esther). In some cases there were multiple copies of the same book. For example, there were nineteen copies of the Book of Isaiah, twenty-five copies of Deuteronomy and thirty copies of the Psalms. Now, why do I mention the Dead Sea Scrolls? Because manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls have allowed Biblical scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the Bible we have today is the same Bible that the early church possessed 2,000 years ago. You can view these manuscripts in the British Museum, Cambridge University Library, Smithsonian Institute, Oxford University, the National Library at Paris, and Israel Museum.
Now, even if we did not have any manuscripts copies of the Bible, there is another way of verifying that we have accurate copies of the Bible, ad that is by examining the writings of the church fathers. By church fathers I am referring to those leaders in the church, of the first three centuries A.D., following the original disciples. I'm talking about men like Justin Martyr, Eusebius, Tertullian, Polycarp. These men, in their writings and correspondence with one another, and in their letters to different churches, quote the Old and New Testament over and over again. In fact, the early church fathers quote the New Testament alone more than 86,000 times.
And here is something most people don't realize. Their writings survive to this day! You can go to Amazon.com right now and buy an encyclopedic size set of the writings of the church fathers and see with your own eyes their numerous quotations of both the Old and New Testaments. There are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single manuscript copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct most of the New Testament today just from their writings [Norman Geisler and William Nix, General Introduction to the Bible, 430].
This shouldn't come as a surprise to us. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”
For Brown to assert that the Bible “has evolved through countless…additions, and revisions” again demonstrates either his ignorance of the facts or his willingness to go against the facts.
A second area that Dan Brown errs has to do with…
2. The Origin of the Deity of Christ
The DVC says: “At this gathering [the Council of Nicea] many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus….until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet, a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”
Sophie says: “Not the Son of God?”
Teabing: “Right. Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.”
Sophie: “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?”
Teabing says: “A relatively close vote at that.” (p. 233)
Dan Brown suggests here that the deity of Christ was a late invention by the church. It was proposed at the council of Nicea and that it barely passed. For the person who is unfamiliar with the Bible, church history or what happened at the council of Nicea this might easily be believed.
What was the council of Nicea?
The council at Nicea in modern day Turkey was a gathering of 318 Bishops (church leaders from all over the Roman Empire) in A.D. 325 to discuss doctrines related to the person of Jesus.
This meeting was hardly the place where it first proposed that Jesus was actually God, as Brown suggests. That belief was already firmly in place as the popular teaching of the church.
In the fourth century there was a man by the name of Arius (256 -336) who was causing some disputes throughout the Roman Empire as it related to the person of Jesus. Arius reasoned that since Jesus was “begotten,” (Jn. 3:16) He must have had a beginning. His false teachings regarding Jesus became known as Arianism.
Arianism denied the eternality of Jesus. Followers of his teaching, known as Arians, held that the divine nature of Christ was similar to God, but not the same. The Council of Nicea, this gathering together of the Bishops, condemned this teaching in 325 A.D. and reaffirmed what the Bible already taught: that Jesus had the very same nature as God.
Was it a close vote? You tell me. There were 318 bishops that were called to the meeting in Nicea. As for the vote that was finally taken, only five out of 318 dissented; and only two of those five refused to sign the resulting resolutions, which reaffirmed the prevailing view of the church: Jesus was and is God. Hardly a close vote, as Brown suggests in his book!
Allow me to read to you from official creed that came out of Nicea. We call it the Nicene Creed:
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.”
You can see for yourself the very high view the early church leaders had of Jesus. Referring to Him as “very God of very God” and “begotten, not made” 316 of the 318 early church leaders signed on to that resolution! Dan Brown calls a 316 to 2 vote regarding Jesus’ deity: "A relatively close vote” (p. 233). Can you imagine a basketball team being beaten 316 to 2 and then the losing team telling people afterwards that it was, “A relatively close game”? Come on Dan.
It is a historical fact that the deity of Christ was the prevailing view of the church long before the days of Constantine and the Council of Nicea. In fact, nearly three hundred years before the Council of Nicea even before the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, the deity of Christ was already being acknowledged by Christ’s disciples:
A. The Deity of Christ in the Bible
The New Testament documents are full of affirmations of Christ’s deity.
● Thomas, called Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
● Paul calls Jesus “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
● John called Jesus God in the opening verse of his Gospel where he said that “the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
● Jesus took the name of God in the Old Testament “I AM” (Exodus 3:14) and applied it to Himself (John 8:58)
● He also said that God was His Father, resulting in some of his listeners trying to stone Him for making Himself “equal with God.” (John 5:18, 10:33).
The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, foretold the Messiah’s deity. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
B. The Deity of Christ and the Church Fathers
In addition to the testimony of the disciples and Christ Himself, there is the testimony of the church fathers, in the second century, still long before the fourth century Council of Nicea. Men like Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria, over and over in their writings affirm that Jesus was God incarnate.
Ignatius (A.D. 30 – 98 and 117), the Bishop of Antioch, referred to Jesus in His writings with such words:
● “Jesus Christ our God”
● “Jesus...who is God and man”
● “Suffer me to follow the example of the passion of my God”
● “Our God Jesus Christ”
● “There is One God who manifests himself through Jesus Christ his son”
● “God Incarnate”
The fact that Ignatius was not rebuked, nor branded as a heretic by any of the churches or Christian leaders he sent such letters to, proves that the early church believed that Jesus was God long before the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.
Justin Martyr (A.D. 100 - 165) said of Jesus:
● “being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God”
● “both God and Lord of hosts”
Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202) said:
● “our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King.”
Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 - 215):
● “truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because he was His Son.”
Not only do the Biblical writers and the church fathers affirm that the deity of Christ predates Constantine, but now archaeology has helped to confirm this as well.
C. Megiddo Discovery
On November 5, 2005, Israeli archaeologists made an amazing announcement. In Megiddo, in northern Israel, archaeologists discovered the remains of the oldest Christian church ever discovered. Evidence reveals that this church dates as far back as the second or third century A.D. The remains included a Greek styled mosaic entry way to the church that bore an amazing inscription.
FoxNews.com reported: “Two mosaics inside the church — one covered with fish, an ancient Christian symbol that predates the cross — tell the story of a Roman officer and a woman named Aketous who donated money to build the church in the memory “of the God Jesus Christ.” See photos and story at in this FOX News article.
Not only does this recent discovery reinforce the fact Jesus actually existed, it verifies what we have long known: the early Christians believed Jesus was God long before the Council of Nicea in the fourth century. To learn more about archaeological discoveries that have verified Biblical details, see my book Archaeological Evidence for the Bible.
A third area Dan Brown strays from the truth has to do with…
3. The Development of Sunday Worship
Dan Brown writes: “Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagan’s veneration day of the sun. To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday morning with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun god’s weekly tribute—Sun-day.” (p. 232-233)
This is also false. All available evidence indicates that Christians were meeting together on Sundays long before Constantine. Acts 20:7, as well as 1 Corinthians 16:2, written two hundred years before Constantine was born, talk about believers coming together, breaking bread and studying the Word on “the first day of the week” which would have been Sunday, a day that the early church referred to as “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10).
It had nothing to do with Constantine. He wasn’t even born yet. It had everything to do with the fact that Sunday was the day of Christ’s resurrection (John 20:1) and post-resurrection appearances (Jn. 20:19, 26).
Not only does the Bible tell us that the early Christians met on the first day of the week for worship, numerous other early extrabiblical sources mention this as well, including:
● Ignatius (a Bishop in Antioch, born c. 50 A.D. died around 98 -117 A.D.)
● Justin Martyr (born c. 100 – died c. 165 A.D.)
● Irenaeus (born c. 115 -125 A.D., Bishop of Lyons in second century)
● Cyprian (Bishop at Carthage, born around 200 A.D.)
● Pliny the Younger (the Governor of Bithynia between 111-113 A.D. )
● The Didache (an early church writing, written in approximately 80 A.D.)
And all of these sources predate Constantine (who was born between 274 and 280) some by 200 years! Once again, Brown receives a failing grade in history.
Fourthly, let's consider how the book errs when it speaks of...
4. The Establishment of the Canon of Scripture
The word canon is a term that means “standard.” When we speak of the canon of Scripture we are referring to the standard collection of 66 books that God determined should make up the Bible. By the second century, the complete canon of Scripture exactly as we have it today was popularly recognized. When it comes to the establishment of the canon of Scripture, again Dan Brown makes many inaccurate statements in the book.
In the DVC, Dan Brown has the following characters say:.
Leigh Teabing: “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John among them.”
Sophie: “Who chose which gospels to include?”
Teabing: “Aha! The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” (p. 231)
This is absolutely false. First off, nobody knows where in the world Dan Brown got his figure about the existence of “eighty gospels.” There is no historical evidence for such a statement. Even counting all the heretical, apocryphal writings about Jesus there were less than 20 documents in the first four centuries that could even be called gospels or accounts of Jesus’ life.
Secondly, Constantine had nothing to do with the collation (or canonization) of the Bible. The Old Testament had been compiled by the Jews long before Jesus was even born. As for the New Testament, its formation began by the end of the first century, nearly two hundred years before Constantine was even born. (Again, Constantine was born about 274-280 A.D.)
Most of the canon of the New Testament was well known long before Constantine. In fact, by the time of Constantine, the early church had already dismissed the many fraudulent apocryphal gospels that had arisen later in the second century.
There is another thing I wanted to draw your attention to in this last quote. Teabing: “Aha! The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great.” (p. 231)
Dan Brown refers to Constantine as a “pagan” in a way to point out how ironic it is that the Christian’s Bible was compiled by such a person. Well, we already noted how Constantine had nothing to do with the collation or formation of the canon. But referring to Constantine as a “pagan” here, Brown seems to deliberately ignore the fact that Constantine converted to Christianity. Was his conversion genuine? Most scholars agree that it certainly seems it was.
● He issued his famous Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. that officially ended the persecution of Christians. (It was Theodosius who made Christianity the official religion of the empire)
● He repaid the church for its terrible losses during the persecutions.
● He favored the clergy.
● He helped establish many churches throughout his empire.
● He called for the Council of Nicea, and underwrote the expenses for the Bishops to attend it.
● He even desired to be baptized near his death.
Regarding the canon of Scripture Dan Brown also says this: “Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that make Him godlike.” (p. 234)
Again, Brown is mistaken. There is absolutely zero historical evidence that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were “embellished” in the fourth century. Neither is there is any record that these texts were ever recalled in order to be embellished! Recalling thousands of hand written copies of Gospels would have been impossible. And, if an event like that happened, there surely would have been some sort of mention of it by Christians in their writings, or histories of the church. And there is none.
Brown also states that: “The earlier gospels [i.e. the ones Dan Brown says told the real truth about Jesus and that He was just a man] were outlawed, gathered up, and burned...” (p. 234)
First, there is no evidence that Constantine ever gave orders to destroy the Gnostic gospels or any pagan works for that matter. Dan Brown seems content in leaving behind the historical facts to advance his radical ideas. And what “earlier gospels” is Dan Brown talking about? If he is talking about the so called "Gospel of Thomas," the "Gospel of Philip," and the "Gospel of Mary," written by the Gnostics, he is wrong for saying that these fraudulent writings were “earlier.” Most scholars, Christian and non-Christian, date the Gnostic "gospels" (for example those found in the Nag Hammadi collection in northern Egypt) to about A.D. 250 to 350––long after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written.
There is very good evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John's Gospels were all written before the close of the first century. See my article "When Was the New Testament Completed?"
Brown goes on to say: “Fortunately for historians some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Seas Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert.” (p. 234)
This is laughable. To say that the Dead Sea Scrolls contained “gospels,” of any kind (let alone ones that tell the true story about Jesus) again demonstrates how unreliable Brown is. The Dead Sea Scrolls contained nothing that could even be called a gospel. Rather, the Dead Sea Scrolls included portions of every Old Testament book (except Esther), commentaries on the Old Testament, extrabiblical works, secular documents and business records.
The Qumran community, which wrote or preserved these documents, had nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity. Most of their documents were written centuries before Christ. Another error that Brown makes here is when he states that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1950s. Actually, they were discovered in 1947. On top of that there were numerous caves that housed the manuscripts, not just one.
Dan Brown suggests next: “The scrolls [The Dead Sea Scrolls] highlight...that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda—to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.” (p. 234)
Again, Dan Brown demonstrates that he has a complete disregard for the facts. There have been many books, journals, and articles written on the Dead Scrolls (even at a lay level). And one after another, they have documented and clearly stated that the Dead Sea Scrolls did not contain anything mentioning Jesus.
The claim that the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us about the real Jesus––the claim that Constantine was behind the formation of the canon or was responsible for destroying gospels he did not approve of, is a ludicrous distortion of history, and of the facts.
This is why so many scholars have written books exposing the errors of the DVC.
Fifthly, let's consider how the book errs when it comes...
5. The Singleness of Our Lord
On page 248 in the DVC, Teabing says: “I shan't ’t bore you with the countless references to Jesus and [Mary] Magdalene’s union…"
“…More specifically, her marriage to Jesus Christ...It’s a matter of historical record.” (p. 244)
Not only does Dan Brown lead the reader to believe that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, he asserts that they had a child together named Sarah and that it was Jesus’ intention that Mary Magdalene become the head of the church! Dan Brown says that it was the greedy, power-hungry disciples that kept this from happening. According to Dan Brown, they forced Mary Magdalene to flee to France, where Jesus’ bloodline supposedly continues. According to Dan Brown, ever since the disciples ran Mary out of town, the Church has conducted, “the greatest cover-up in human history” trying to hide the fact that Jesus was just a normal man and not the Son of God.
Of course all of this is ridiculous, and scholars from every end of the spectrum have pointed out that there are no historical facts to support Brown’s far-fetched ideas. It has long been believed by scholars from every persuasion that Jesus was not married.
The New Testament writers made no mention of a wife when He was in ministry, no mention of a wife at His trial or crucifixion, no mention of a wife after His resurrection––even though they repeatedly spoke of Jesus’ other family members (e.g., Mary, Joseph, and brothers and sisters in Matthew 13:55).
Dan Brown seeks to bolster his case for Jesus’ marriage by citing the so-called Gospel of Philip (a Gnostic text from the second or third century) that says Mary Magdalene was the “companion” of Jesus. Dan Brown says the word “companion” in Aramaic literally means “wife.” Dan, the Gospel of Philip wasn’t even written in Aramaic! It was written in Coptic! Nice try Dan.
Dr. Paul Maier (Harvard graduate, best selling author, and now a professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University) writes:“If there were even one spark of evidence from antiquity that Jesus even may have gotten married, then as a historian, I would have to weigh this evidence against the total absence of such information in either Scripture or the early church traditions. But there is no such spark—not a scintilla of evidence—anywhere in historical sources. Even where one might expect to find such claims in the bizarre, second-century, apocryphal gospels [e.g., the so called gospel of Philip,] …there is no reference that Jesus ever got married.”
Even the ultra-liberal scholar, John Dominic Crossan (a former co-chair of the Jesus Seminar) agrees, saying: “There is no evidence that Jesus was married, multiple indications that he was not, and no early texts suggesting wife or children.” One of the few things on which the vast majority of liberal and conservative scholars agree is this: Jesus was single.
In our time together we have briefly examined the Biblical evidence, the manuscript evidence, the archaeological evidence, the writings of the church fathers and statements by credible historians. Even a brief examination of the facts exposes the fact that the DVC is inaccurate when it comes to:
1. The Corruption of the Scriptures
2. The Origin of the Deity of Christ
3. The Development of Sunday Worship
4. The Establishment of the Canon of Scripture
5. The Singleness of Our Lord
Jesus did not come to the Earth to get married and start a family. He came to the Earth to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Have you placed your faith in Him? I exhort you do that right now. Click here to see steps to peace with God.
CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL (Twitter: @charlieabready)
Charlie Campbell is the Director of the Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry and a popular guest speaker at churches and conferences. He is the author of numerous articles, books, and DVDs, including:
• Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
• Evidence for the Existence of God
• One Minute Answers to Skeptics
• Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
• The End Times: Ten Upcoming Events in Bible Prophecy
• The Case for the Resurrection
• Teaching and Preaching God's Word
His DVDs and books have been endorsed by Norman Geisler, Charles Colson, Chuck Smith, Ed Hindson, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jeremy Camp, and many others.