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Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking Hardcover – April 21, 2004

3.1 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Darrell L. Bock, PhD, is Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He also serves as Professor for Spiritual Development and Culture. As well as being a corresponding editor for Christianity Today and past President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Bock serves as an elder at Trinity Fellowship Church in Richardson, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Sally, and their three children.

From AudioFile

Absorbing and provocative, this account of the hotly debated questions of history and religion swirling around bestselling book THE DA VINCI CODE will be acclaimed or rejected depending on which side of the religious fence the listener stands. The text has impressive historical citations and concludes with well-presented arguments that ultimately listeners will accept or reject, based on their own particular point of view. The glossary of names and terms mentioned in the hard cover edition is omitted from the audio's packaging. (A printed version in the liner would be greatly helpful.) For example, there is no reference to a concise and informative introduction by Dr. Frances J. Maloney, Catholic University of America, an important ecumenical note. L.C. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition edition (April 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785260463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785260462
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,175,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Darrell L. Bock (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In "Breaking the Da Vinci Code," New Testament scholar Darrell Bock describes and refutes the "codes" behind "The Da Vinci Code," which could better be understood to be the presuppositions of author Dan Brown, and those who subscribe to his Gnostic view of Christianity.

Sadly, in our day and age, very few Christians, much less the general population, have any knowledge of the literature of the Early Church, except perhaps for the New Testament itself. It is because of this general ignorance that so many seem to readily buy into Dan Brown's "code behind the code."

As I read "The Da Vinci Code" nearly a year ago, I was totally engrossed in the mystery, but as the story progressed, I was increasingly appalled at the "history." As an amateur student of Church history, I couldn't help but wish for a single volume I could recommend to help counteract the erroneous views of Christian development that Brown promotes. "Breaking the Da Vinci Code" is one such volume.

While each "code" could have a scholarly work written about it (and indeed many have been), Bock does a good job of addressing popular misconceptions about Mary Magdalene, whether or not Jesus was married, the Gnostic gospels, the development of the New Testament, and other related issues.

It is significant that this book is endorsed by well respected Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christian scholars. Personally, as an Orthodox Christian, I found Bock's statements to be, for the most part, thoroughly orthodox (small "o"), in the sense of C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" (another book I would also heartily recommend).

For further reading, I would strongly urge readers to take a look at "Ecclesiastical History" (also published as "Church History"), written by Eusebius in the 4th century.
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Bock has written a fascinating historical analysis of the early Christian era, focusing on the seven codes found in the best-selling thriller by Dan Brown, The DaVinci Codes.

His explanation of the theological view of the Gnostics is perhaps the most enlightening. The Gnostics were a now-forgotten early Christian group, that postulated the road to Heaven was through intense study, knowledge, and enlightment, which were only achieved by a select group of intellectuals. They also generally viewed Jesus and Christ as two entities, seeing a separation between the Savior and the man.

Clearly these Gnostic views are almost unrecognizable to "orthodox" Christians of our era, where salvation is based on belief and forgiveness of sin, and God had one Son who suffered on the cross. However, Brown's characters lean heavily on them.

Professor Bock also delves deeply into the code that says Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had a blood line that extends to modern France.

These are not new theories. The French descendants have been talking about this for centuries. Many other books in the last 20 years have expressed this. Even the 1970's musical Jesus Christ Superstar, now endorsed by the Vatican, hints at a relationship beyond that of teacher and apostle. However, Bock analyzes carefully all Biblical and non-Biblical sources and finds no evidence whatsoever that Jesus was married or had descendants. This seems to be the one fact that all Biblical scholars agree upon.

The other DaVinci codes are similarly dissected in great historical perspective, involving every known source, and all are found to be lacking. Dan Brown has written an interesting thriller, but it has no basis in history, as the Vatican is now proclaiming as well.
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Format: Hardcover
Darrell Bock is that rarity--a conservative evangelical historian/New Testament scholar who is as irenic as he is thorough. Moreover, he's completely familiar with postmodern approaches to historiography and philosophy--something also rare among evangelical scholars (although, it must be noted, with writers like Kevin Vanhooser coming to the fore, that is increasingly becoming a thing of the past).

All in all, of the many books out there seeking to get at the real truth behind Dan Brown's international blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code, Bock's book is the second best, just edged out by Olson and Miesel's The Da Vinci Hoax. Bock's book is so good because he possesses an extensive knowledge of what is called the New School of New Testament studies, thus properly contextualizing and laying the groundwork for a thorough discussion of The Da Vinci Code. Plus, he seems to take the challenge Brown's book presents to both historical and modern-day Christian understanding very seriously. And because he's so careful in his analysis, his conclusions rest on firm footing.

Bottom line, both books come to basically the same conclusion: There is little or no evidence for the claims to historical accuracy that Dan Brown presents both in The Da Vinci Code and in his subsequent interviews. The plain fact of the matter is that on every front the evidence points in the direction of historic orthodox Christianity and away from Brown's revisionist history. All the sensational claims Brown makes--from the marriage of Mary Magdalene to Jesus, to the superiority of the so-called Gnostic Gospels to the Canonical Gospels, to the idea that the deity of Jesus was a fourth-century construct of the Council of Nicea--are masterfully exposed for the frauds and fabrications they are.
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