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Exploring the Da Vinci Code: Investigating the Issues Raised by the Book and Movie Mass Market Paperback – April 11, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lee Strobel is an award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and a New York Times bestselling author. After years of nonfiction bestsellers, he is publishing his debut fiction novel, a legal thriller. Lee is a Yale Law School graduate, accomplished journalist, and world-renowned speaker. SPANISH BIO: Lee Strobel tiene una licenciatura en periodismo de la Universidad de Missouri y una maestria en estudio de leyes de la Universidad Yale. Fue el galardonado editor legal del periodico Chicago Tribune y esceptico espiritual hasta el ano 1981. Es autor de exitos de ventas del New York Times de casi veinte libros y ha sido entrevistado por numerosos programas nacionales de television, incluyendo 20/20 de la cadena ABC, Fox News y CNN. Cuatro de sus libros han ganado el premio Medalla de oro y uno de ellos fue el ganador del premio Libro cristiano del ano 2005 (el cual escribio junto a Garry Poole). Lee sirvio como pastor de ensenanza en las Iglesias Willow Creek y Saddleback. Ademas, contribuye como editor y columnista de la revista 'Outreach'. el y su esposa, Leslie, residen en Colorado. Para mas informacion, visite: www.leestrobel.com

As Willow Creek Community Church's key evangelism leader for over sixteen years, Garry Poole is the innovator of seeker small groups and a strategist of creative outreach initiatives. Passionate about reaching people for Christ, Garry and his team have trained thousands of leaders to launch seeker small groups in their own settings. His award-winning book, Seeker Small Groups, provides a detailed blueprint for facilitating small group discussions that assist spiritual seekers with investigating Christianity. He also wrote The Complete Book of Questions, a collection of 1001 conversation starters and numerous group study guides including The Three Habits of Highly Contagious Christians; The Tough Questions Series, and Experiencing the Passion of Jesus (with Lee Strobel) to accompany Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. In 2005, it became the first discussion guide ever to receive the prestigious Charles 'Kip' Jordon Christian Book of the Year award. Garry lives in suburban Chicago and consults on evangelism and seeker small groups at churches around the world. For more information about seeker small groups and bringing Garry to your area, contact: seekergroups@seekerministries.org SPANISH BIO: Garry Poole es director de evangelismo en Willow Creek Community Church en South Barrington, Illinois y tambien es el autor de Seeker Small Groups, The Complete Book of Questions y The Three Habits of Highly Contagious Christians.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you. Please send your comments about this book to us in care of zreview@zondervan.com. Thank you. Exploring the Da Vinci Code Copyright 2006 by Lee Strobel and Garry Poole Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 ISBN-10: 0-310-27372-2 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27372-1 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means --- electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other --- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Beth Shagene Printed in the United States of America 06 07 08 09 10 11 * 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 C h a p t e r 1 What Can History Really Tell Us? Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes! Leonardo da Vinci Breathtaking Lincoln Cathedral, towering atop Lindum Hill in a quaint community two hours by train north of London, can be seen from twenty miles away. Some say it's among the finest medieval buildings in all of Europe. Its edifice, parts of which date back to 1072, is awash in spotlights at night, creating a spectacular golden glow. I pulled open the massive black door and walked inside. The cavernous sanctuary, with its arched ceilings and elegant stained glass, still functions as a church today. Exploring a long hallway, our footsteps echoing as we went, Garry and I came upon a small room to the right and opened the door, which creaked eerily on its hinges. Our eyes immediately were captured by an elegant statue along the wall --- a finely carved marble image of a winged and bearded figure bearing a written proclamation. How ancient was it? Fifteenth century? Earlier? I smiled and picked it up, easily holding it above my head. 'Look!' I exclaimed. 'Styrofoam!' Sure enough, the statue was a clever fake. Next to it was a monument that purported to date back centuries --- but it was made of plywood. And the stone wall with beautiful frescos painted on it? The whole thing was drawn on heavy canvas --- including the stones themselves. Ron Howard had been here. As director of The Da Vinci Code movie, he had been faced with a challenge. The plot of the book climaxes with a confrontation at London's Westminster Abbey, but officials there refused to let Howard film his movie inside their historic walls. The reason, they said, is that the novel is filled with 'factual errors' and was 'theologically unsound.' So Howard went hunting for another ancient building that could pass for the interior of the 940-year-old Abbey. That brought him to Lincoln Cathedral. Cathedral officials were critical of Brown's book too, calling it 'speculative and far-fetched,' and even heretical in places, 'based on ideas put forward rather late in the church's history.' Still, they opted to open their doors for the filming of three of the movie's scenes. 'The book claims that the church has suppressed important facts about Jesus,' the Cathedral's dean said in a statement. 'The way to counter this accusation is to be open about the facts as we understand them and welcome vigorous debate.' Once inside, Hollywood did what it does best: create illusions. Phony paintings, crypts, and statues were skill fully designed and constructed. To the casual observer, they appeared every bit as real as the other historic artifacts in the medieval cathedral. On camera, they would undoubtedly fool viewers. In a way, this harmless Hollywood trickery is a metaphor for the more insidious illusions that, according to Dan Brown, have fooled students of history for generations. His basic charge in The Da Vinci Code is that people have been misled and deceived by historical accounts about Jesus that have no basis in reality. History, Brown asserts, is written by the winners, who naturally paint themselves in positive ways while disparaging their defeated foes --- and so we're left with a biased and tainted record that only tells one side of the story. 'Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ,' says a character in the novel, 'is false.' What can we know for sure about history? How can we assess whether an ancient document is trustworthy? Are there legitimate criteria we can use to test historical claims? And what about some of the eye-popping historical allegations that Brown makes, such as his assertion that the Priory of Sion has been protecting the secrets about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their descendants for centuries? Or that it was Emperor Constantine, an ersatz Christian, who deified Jesus, collated the Bible, and destroyed competing gospels in order to eliminate the real story about Jesus' identity? I placed a call to Dr. Paul Maier, a well-respected and straight-shooting professor of ancient history, and made an appointment to question him about these issues. It was time to get some answers. 1. What was your overall reaction to The Da Vinci Code? What are three things you liked most about the book or movie? What did you like least --- and why? 2. Are there any questions, issues, or concerns about historical Christianity that The Da Vinci Code raises in your mind? If so, what are they specifically? Gauging Historical Accuracy 'Many historians now believe (as do I) that in gauging the historical accuracy of a given concept, we should first ask ourselves a far deeper question: How historically accurate is history itself?' Dan Brown 3. Can historical events be verified? Why or why not? What do you think determines whether or not a historical event actually occurred? Dr. Maier, a wiry and feisty professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, has achieved acclaim as a scholar, teacher, and author of both academic and popular writings. Since earning his doctorate at the University of Basel in Switzerland in 1957, he has become a recognized expert on ancient Near East history, ancient Greek and Roman history, and Christianity and the Roman Empire. He has written more than 250 articles and reviews for professional journals, including the Harvard Theological Review. His teaching awards include Professor of the Year from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Maier has written such books as In the Fullness of Time, which examines secular evidence about Jesus and early Christianity; a new translation and commentary on the first-century historian Josephus; and a similar book on Eusebius, the first church historian. He's also the author of historical novels, including Pontius Pilate and The Flames of Rome. His thriller A Skeleton in God's Closet became the top national bestseller in religious fiction and led to a sequel, More Than a Skeleton. Maier has more than just a passing interest in The Da Vinci Code. Together with Hank Hanegraaff, host of the popular national radio program The Bible Answer Man, he conducted an in-depth analysis of Brown's novel. From that research, he and Hanegraaff wrote The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?, which provides answers to historical issues raised by the book.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; First Printing edition (April 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310273722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310273721
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.3 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,634,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roger N. Overton on May 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Similar to Lee Strobel's "Case for..." books, Exploring the Da Vinci Code takes an investigative approach interviewing Christian scholars about controversial issues. The book is an adapted form of the interviews Strobel conducted for the DVD of his Discussing the Da Vinci Code Curriculum Kit. It is essentially the same material with added commentary throughout.

Authors Lee Strobel and Gary Poole boiled the issues down to four categories and interviewed a scholar to deal with each of them. In chapter one, the topic of historical analysis is discussed with historian Paul Maier. The second chapter poses the question "Can we trust the four Gospels?" to New Testament scholar Scot McKnight. Strobel interviews Kathy McReynolds in chapter three about the role of women in Christianity and Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene. The final chapter deals with the divinity of Jesus with scholar Mark Strauss.

Just like the discussion guide for the curriculum, the book has questions for reflection interspersed throughout its pages. In the back of the book, again just like the guide, are several appendices that recommend further resources, state the facts, and give arguments for the true identity of Jesus that is affirmed by historic Christianity.

Strobel is known for his investigative journalist approach, which he applied well in these interviews. He asks good questions that provoke good responses form the reputable scholars. Those who enjoyed his "Case for..." books will also enjoy this light read. Though it somewhat deals with "the sacred feminine," it does not really deal with the underlying pagan worldview of Dan Brown's novel. For the most part though, Exploring the Da Vinci Code is a useful little book that shows many of the problems with The Da Vinci Code.
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The arguments frmo the Da Vinci code are not really taken seriously in academia, but the average `layman' will still use these arguments against Christianity as if they are critical defeaters to those who follow the divine Jesus Christ, however I still expected more substance from Lee Strobel.

I don't know who the other editor (Poole) of this book is, but it does appear that he didn't contribute much, as Strobel's style of writing is clear from the beginning to the end. This style includes what one would expect from a journalist in regards to asking questions and taking notes.

At first Strobel interviews one of my favorite historians in Paul Maier, and I believe this is the strongest point in the book that argues for Strobel's (and my) position. Maier knocks down the ignorant fantasy of the priory of scion pretty quickly and goes on to give Dan Brown a proverbial beating on what `history' truly entailed.

Strobel goes over other claims that Dan Brown made in regards to Jesus being married, women in the early church, the Gnostic gospels etc, and retaliates to this claims with quotes from prominent scholars such as Ben Witherington III, Darrell Bock etc as well as a few historians in Amy Welborn which is fine, but I believe he should have went more into detail with arguments from liberal scholars such as advocates of the Jesus Seminar. While most of Dan browns claims can be easily dismissed as ignorant garbage there are arguments against the claims of Jesus' Divinity and use of the Gnostic scriptures that should have mentioned a bit more as we still see a BIG DEBATE going on in academic circles regarding these issues.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yale Law school trained author Strobel provides a refreshing review of issues raised in the popular Da Vinci Code novel. He uses his skill as a former investigative reporter to interview 4 experts about claims made in the Da Vinci Code. Together, the authors provide a clear, concise, articulate summary of major themes in the Da Vinci Code and investigate whether the issues are based on fact or fiction. If you have read the Da Vinci code and wonder whether the Priory of Sion and the Gnostic Gospels are fact or fiction, or whether Constantine really suppressed truth about Christ, or whether Jesus promoted the "sacred feminine", here is your answer. Enjoy!
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The book has been interesting to read how one person can fool so many people by distorting the truth. It points out how important it is to do research yourself or be ready to read the material as total fiction. The book, though, has not been one that is hard to put down. In fact, I've found it difficult to keep going, which is very unusual, as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading other books authored by Lee Strobel.
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Exploring the Da Vinci Code with the dvd is absolutely great for exposing the lies of the book by Dan Brown.

Lee even includes the FAQ and Evidence for the identity of Jesus based on discussions with real historians in this area of history.

I recommend everyone get this and use it to share the truth with followers of Dan Brown of those duped by him.
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