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de-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code Paperback – April 1, 2004

3.4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Amy Welborn gives a sprightly, detailed, and highly satisfying account of the truth behind the pseudo-history. -- Mike Potemra, National Review, May 3, 2004

Amy Welborn’s De-Coding Da-Vinci is a strong effort. -- Mark Gauvreau Judge, Breakpoint, May 6, 2004

Even people who haven't already read the novel that it trounces would profit from reading De-Coding Da Vinci. -- Patrick O'Hannigan, Spectator Online, April 28, 2004

Ms. Welborn's book...destroys the hokum and commits it to the ashcan reserved for phony attacks on the Church. -- Fr. Andrew Greeley

About the Author

Amy Welborn holds an MA in Church History from Vanderbilt University. She is the author of several other books, including the "Prove It" series for youth (Our Sunday Visitor) , "The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints" (Loyola Press) and the forthcoming "The Words We Pray: Discovering the Richness of Traditional Catholic Prayer." (Loyola Press, October 2004).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (IN) (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592761011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592761012
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,052,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Fr Phillip Bloom on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed Dan Brown's *Da Vinci Code* but I have to admit that Amy Welborn's book was even more fun. With a delightful style and large doses of irony she analyzes Brown's claims:
--That Constantine selected the books of the New Testament and invented the divinity of Christ.
--That the early Church covered up Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene.
--That Jesus originally designated her as the leader of his movement and that she in fact is the Holy Grail.
While these claims seem quite exciting, Amy shows that the truth is even more startling. The controversy over *The Da Vinci Code* provides an opportunity to learn the facts about Christian origins. Skepticism is good both for Christians and non-Christians. Amy's book will help any honest inquirer. Read it and decide for yourself.
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Unless my aging memory deceives me, I recall a story from Catholic school days about an ancient Christian teacher who suffered a peculiarly painful martyr's death: he was pierced hundreds of times by the styluses or pens of his hostile pagan students. In this work we get the martyr's revenge: from an articulate, scholarly, and dismayed author who administers a death by a thousand cuts to the premises and biases of the best selling "Da Vinci Code."

There are many ways this antidote to DVC could have been mishandled: the author could have written an ad hoc attack upon Dan Brown, or a cosmic wail against the anti-Catholic bias of the work, or a "preaching to the choir" methodology of uncritical defense of those areas of Catholic life and history that Brown played upon so well. The author successfully avoided these pitfalls, for the most part, with a terse but thorough dismantling of the major historical and theological flaws. Welborn, who did her graduate history studies at Vanderbilt University, clearly holds the upper hand.

The author addresses about a dozen topics that DVC manhandles with distressing consistency: the identity of Mary Magdalene, the determination of the canon or texts of the New Testament, the Roman Emperor Constantine, the Holy Grail, Leonardo Da Vinci, feminism in the Church, mystery religions, and Opus Dei. Each separate critique is deadly to a novel which depends upon an intricately developed puzzle. It would require only a few threads to unravel before the plot line becomes irrational. Welborn works with a tailor's shears. To cite just one area of critique, Welborn devotes a chapter to Brown's depiction of Da Vinci himself, and discovers that the moniker "Da Vinci" is not the artist's name. He was known then, and to experts today, as Leonardo.
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Yes. I know. It's Just A Novel. But that does not appear to be how the the author indended it to be viewed. It is also not how many of its readers have understood it. The author seems to think that it is based on Factual Information and Hidden Truths that the Powers That Be dont want you to know about and were previously only accessible by the Cognoscenti.

The amateur historian in me wishes to point out a couple things. First of all, the magnitude of his claims about Christian history and theology are breathtaking. Second, claims of that magnitude had better have bulletproof documentation to back them up.

Amy Welborn's book does an excellent job of finding holes in the allegedly sound historical basis for the novel in question. Welborn's book is breezily written, which can be an aid in understanding the book's points. It also provides review questions and recommendations for further study.

It is a good introduction to the controversy raised by The DaVinci Code. For those who want more detail, there are many others. For example, there is The DaVinci Hoax, also available here.
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By A Customer on April 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very readable book that should appeal to believers and agnostics alike - anyone honestly interested in the truth. Early church history is something most know little about, and the author (who has a BA in honors history and MA in Church History) has done an excellent job helping to fill that vacuum. She explores the sources of information Dan Brown used for his book and seeks to unravel fact from fiction in an fair-minded way.
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By A Customer on April 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Amy Welborn does a fine job of dealing with the issues raised in the Da Vinci Code, but I must say, I found it less thorough than another book on the subject, "Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code" (0971812861).
Welborn, for instance, doesn't spend much time on the way anti-Semitic strains in 19th century German philosophy and theology influences a lot of the "theology" in Dan Brown's book. She also doesn't spend as much time on the modern origins of Wicca as one might hope. Kellmeyer's argument from Scripture debunking the assertions about marriage between Mary Magdelene and Jesus are very compelling; Welborn's arguments are good, but she misses the points he makes.
Overall, the two books overlap on some points, but they complement each other well. If you buy this book, you'll need "Fact and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code" to finish fleshing out the answers.
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Format: Paperback
The Da Vinci Code: The facts behind the fiction AMY WELBORN

Amy Welborn points out some of the many errors about religion, history, and art contained in The Da Vinci Code in this short pamphlet.

What is The Da Vinci Code?

The Da Vinci Code is a novel by Dan Brown that has held one of the top two or three places on best-seller lists since early summer. More than 3 million copies are in print.

In Brown's novel, the "Da Vinci code" refers to cryptic messages supposedly incorporated by Leonardo Da Vinci into his artwork. According to the novel, Leonardo was a member of an ancient secret society called the "Priory of Sion" dedicated to preserving the "truths" that Jesus designated Mary Magdalene as His successor, that His message was about the celebration of the "sacred feminine," that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children and that the Holy Grail of legend and lore is really Mary Magdalene, the "sacred feminine," the vessel who carried Jesus' children.

Sounds like an intriguing bit of lost history. Is it? Long story short: No.

Is the Holy Grail really the "sacred feminine?"

The legend of the Holy Grail has taken many forms throughout history, but it has always identified the Grail as the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper. The idea of identifying it as the "sacred feminine" and tying it into a supposed bloodline emanating from a union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is lifted whole cloth from the 1981 classic of inventive esoteric wackiness, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Is the "Priory of Sion" a real group?

No. Brown begins his book with a statement, under the title "Fact," that there are documents supporting the existence of the Priory in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
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