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on November 18, 2006
Towards the end of this documentary the narrator states, "In the final analysis, Dan Brown's book seems to raise many questions, but tends to leave the answers up to the reader." That pretty much sums up this DVD as well. I bought this in a special offer pack with the movie and I am glad I did because, watching this documentary first, I became familiar with symbols, places, and ideas that I probably would not have been able to follow watching the movie having never read the novel. I did not come away from this documentary thinking the creators are on the side of the conspirators as some reviewers here think. It explains the side of the conspiracy but it also knocks down a lot of their evidence, i.e. that the SP on the window of the Rosslyn Chapel stands for Saint Peter, not the Priory of Scion, that the Rose line is not what conspiracy theorists claim it is, etc. Representatives from Opus Dei also defend their group in this DVD.

As with the film, there is no information on Sara (Mary Magdelene and Jesus's alleged daughter). Isn't she the one supposedly carrying the bloodline? Isn't she really more important than Mary Magdelene? Perhaps there is no information that exists on her but those on the side of the conspiracy seem to know she had children and thus continued the bloodline. How do they know this?

What I did not like about this DVD is how repetitive it is. The same footage and quotes over and over again. I got so sick of seeing the actor playing Jesus putting his hand on the actress portraying Mary Magdelene's pregnant belly I began just looking away every time it was shown. This documentary could have been just an hour long and been much more interesting and effective in explaining the sides of the Da Vinci Code controversy.
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on June 28, 2006
This movie was very helpful in finding the facts. yet, it also provided information about the fiction. Both sides were fairly represented while also letting the viewer know when real factual evidence was available and when it wasn't. Not all of my questions were answered, but that is just history for you....all the questions that could be answered were in this movie, and those left unanswered showed both sides to the story.....i would recommend this movie for those who are confused about the davinci code or who just want to learn a few things regarding the da vinci code.
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on March 13, 2012
Rewarding insight to the fact behind the fiction much better presentation than Da Vinci Code revealed this program allows the individual to form their own ideas and draw their own conclutions based on historical facts
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on July 5, 2010
Thought provoking. Focuses are upon these areas: Cathars and the knowledge they kept of Jesus' supposed genealogical tree, the Templars and the secrets they held, Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene (who carried his child) and so forth. MY GRADE: B to B plus
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on September 23, 2007
I really appreciated the clear, unbiased manner in which the possibilities of the Davinci Code were examined. The separation of truth from fiction was most helpful and enlightening.
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on August 19, 2010
This video lays out the case against Dan Brown's revisionist history in The Da Vinci Code. It does so in an entertaining and compelling way. Some reviewers seem to think it defends Brown's alternative history, but it doesn't.

The video is nicely shot, clear in its message, and dramatic in its presentation. And it is entirely skeptical of the fanciful story Dan Brown spins. This show does what most cable documentaries do -- it poses controversial questions and strings us along with hints and clues and "what-ifs" until near the end. Then it blows down the whole house of cards. If someone only watched part of the show, it's understandable that they might think it endorsed the pseudo-history that underpins Dan Brown's story. But in the end, it dismisses it, including the notion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had an intimate relationship or a daughter. It merely allows Brown's flight of fancy to flutter around for awhile before it clips its wings. I agree that the show's producers didn't shoot down the myths hard enough, or with enough specificity. But they certainly didn't claim that Brown's fictional history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is true.

The DVD says that Dan Brown's "take" on Jesus and Mary Magdalene is unsupported by both the Gospels and the Gnostic texts. Yes, it leaves room for speculation, and gives air time to Margaret Starbird and others in the Dan Brown camp. Naturally the producers juiced up the possibility of the alternative history being true - they want to keep us engaged; after all, it's a TV show. But the program repeatedly points out that that this stuff is speculation, and it ultimately rejects the conspiracy theory upon which Dan Brown's novel is supposedly based. Near the end, it says, "In France, where the true history is well known, few of the claims in The Da Vinci Code are taken as fact." It also says the "clues" presented by Dan Brown lead to dead ends.

As to the Gnostic writings discovered at Nag Hammadi, the DVD acknowledges that they have been seized upon by the likes of Margaret Starbird as "evidence" of an intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but it does not endorse Starbird's theory. Although the DVD does not delve deeply into the Gnostic connection, it ultimately debunks Starbird's notion and Dan Brown's use of it as the supposedly factual basis for his story. The DVD makes it clear that Dan Brown has asserted that these documents proved something they most assuredly did not.

The DVD also debunks the idea that these documents were hidden because of Church oppression or the Council of Nicaea, and it says they prove nothing about an intimate relationship or a daughter of Jesus. Timothy Freke does overstate the case that disagreeing with Emperor Constantine at Nicaea meant an automatic death sentence. Rome did not become oppressively Christian until decades after Constantine's reign. But the DVD doesn't say Jesus was not considered divine before Nicaea. That is false, and if anyone is claiming that, it's Dan Brown. The show also notes that the decisions about which stories went into the Bible were not made at Nicaea as the Da Vinci Code asserts. Time and again, the program sets the record straight, and you walk away knowing that the Da Vinci Code is fiction based on fable.

I do agree that the show has repetitive images (maybe they ran out of footage), and it does repeat some sound bites. And the show's makers apparently felt the need to recap the complex story a few times, which also gets repetitious. But, given how some viewers seemed to miss the point, which was that The Da Vinci Code has attempted to distort history, maybe some repetition was in order. Overall, this is a very entertaining show. It's the best documentary about the book.
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on July 21, 2006
This DVD presents the appearance of being unbiased because it presents counterevidence to the Da Vinci Code from the Medieval and post-Medieval eras. However, readers of the Da Vinci Code and viewers of this DVD are most interested in PRE-MEDIEVAL history, most especially the life of Jesus and the first centuries after his death. Unfortunately, the pre-Medieval facts and historical theories considered in this DVD are those which are most congenial to the revisionist historical accounts of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, and The Da Vinci Code. The pre-Medieval historical facts most condemning of the revisionist position are not mentioned.

Thus, so far as pre-Medieval history goes, this DVD misses major facts and strongly supportable theories, as if Gandhi's name were left out of India's independence, or Hitler's name out of the causes of WWII. The following four points [1]-[4] regarding pre-Medieval history should suffice to encourage viewers to do more homework in order to supplement the woefully weak and one-sided pre-Medieval "evidence" presented in this DVD, which pretends to support both revisionist and non-revisionist explanations equally.

[1] The Council of Nicea:
Timothy Freke states in the DVD interview that not agreeing with the conclusion of the Council of Nicea (325CE) probably meant death, but Constantine's 313CE Edict of Milan guaranteeing freedom of religion to all faiths was still in effect. Christianity did not become a state religion until Theodosius in 392, and even then pagans and heretics practiced their faiths with a relative impunity. (Certainly, persecutions against non-Christians did pick up speed from the 400s.) The post-Constantine / post-Nicea pagan emperor Julian even suppressed Christianity for a time in the mid 300s. However, the DVD strongly suggests a monolithic Christianity brutally enforced from Nicea onward, through the death penalty.
> All the historical records which we have of this council (misspelled as the Council of "Mycea" in the DVD scene selection!) indicate that the Council basically covered the questions of the Arian heresy, the celebration of Passover, and the status of believers who had lapsed in their faith due to the persecution of Christians immediately previous to Constantine. The primary sources documenting the Council include the writings of Athanasius, who was himself banished for a time while the Arians took the upper hand with the emperors. If the emperors were so set on destroying the works of their enemies, as the DVD suggests, they would have had the chance with Athanasius.
> The Da Vinci Code claims that it was a very close vote at the Council whether or not the divinity of Jesus was to be recognized, but all members present, including the Arians, acknowledged the divinity of Jesus. Further, it was not a close vote, but the Athanasian party (whose leader Athanasius was soon to be banished by the Arians) won by a vote of 300 to 2.
> As to the question of Christians believing in the divinity of Jesus, even pagan authors such as Pliny the Younger (late first century) and Lucian of Samosata (mid second century) record that the Christians worshiped Jesus as a god. Voices presented in the DVD strongly suggest that Jesus was not considered divine until Nicea (325CE).

[2] The Gnostics: The DVD presents this group as being a major feature of the Council of Nicea, but there is no evidence whatsoever that this was the case. Further, the revisionist thesis presented in the DVD presents the Gnostics as close to the teachings of the historical Jesus, but the DVD fails to note that for the Gnostics, all matter is evil and all spirit is good. This radical dualism led the Gnostics toward Docetism and denying the humanity of Jesus. This central humanity-denying tenet of historical Gnosticism is completely opposite to the revisionist thesis argued for in the DVD, which claims that Jesus was considered much more human by pre-Nicene Christian groups (especially the Gnostics).

[3] The Nag Hammadi Library: The DVD presents its discovery as a radically new window into Gnostic doctrine, a treasury of previously unknown knowledge perhaps deviously hidden by church authorities. But the basic points of Gnostic doctrine have been available for the educated since their inception, preserved for pre-Nag Hammadi research by the writings of Christian, Neo-Platonic, and Pagan contemporaries.

[4] The Gospel of Philip: The only statement given is by revisionist Margaret Starbird. She correctly notes that the text states that Jesus kisses Mary Magdalene, but the tone set by the DVD is that this is strong evidence for a romantic relationship between them. The DVD does not provide the context available in The Gospel of Philip itself, nor even in the New Testament. Not only do several of the letters of Paul encourage believers to greet each other with a holy kiss, but the Gospel of Philip (58:34-59:4) states: "For this reason we all kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another." The fact that Gnostic texts use sexual imagery in metaphorical and spiritualized senses is also not mentioned. In other words, the fact that Jesus kisses Mary is presented in the DVD only in our contemporary cultural context, where a kiss is more likely to be interpreted as romantic or erotic.
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on December 2, 2006
I saw this program on the History Channel, and while of its programming is generally objective and non-sensationalistic, the Da Vinci Code is not one of them. So-called scholars frequently refer to events "according to legend and myth" and the narrator tells us "if true" then treats such and such as if it were true. The basic facts are these: even in the Gnostic gospels, there is nothing that suggests that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, merely one or two references that suggest they may have been more than passing acquaintances, nothing more. One, claims believers in the myth, points to the alleged "envy" the Disciples felt in regard to Jesus supposed relationship to her. But it doesn't make any sense that they should be so if she was in fact his wife; a more plausible explanation would be the confusion the felt over what they saw as Jesus' unwarranted attention to what they saw as a "sinner."

There is also no reference anywhere to a child; the fact that believers of this myth assume that it is a female suggests that there is a political agenda fueling this. Furthermore, that believers in this myth also imagine themselves to be one of perhaps millions of "descendents" of Jesus lends itself to easy bemusement.

For a slightly more objective view, try the National Geographic video; it has a special feature in which each of the Da Vinci Code "proofs" are shown to fall into one of three categories: fraud, forgery, and wild imagination.
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on December 19, 2012
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on January 18, 2014
Fairly basic information, nothing I couldn't find out elsewhere on the subject. I would have expected a little more from the history channel, but it's presented well.
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