The Da Vinci Code is based off the famous novel written by Dan Brown. This novel was written in 2003 and was intended to be a mystery-detective novel.

The novel takes place in the famous Paris Louvre Museum as two investigators; Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu try to solve a murder mystery. This murder mystery is revolved around the death of the keeper of the Louvre, Jacques Sauniere. While investigating, they realize that all their clues are found within the art work of Leonardo Da Vinci. Investigating the scene surrounding the dead body, a cipher was found. This clue was intended to lead to another set of clues along the way.

Trying to decipher these clues, Neveu found a painting in which a key was hidden behind. Inscribed on this key were symbols of the Priory of Sion. Leaving the scene of the crime, both Langdon and Neveu preceded to the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich where a safety box was held. The key which was retrieved from behind the picture was the correct fit for this box. Once the box was opened, a keystone the size of a large cryptex was found. For those of you who are unaware of what a cryptex exactly is, it is a cylinder like device invented by Leonardo Da Vinci to transport confidential messages. Similar to a padlock, this cylinder could only be opened by rotating the numbers in the correct order. If the cryptex is opened incorrectly or forced open in any other way, a pocket holding vinegar will disperse and destroy the message within. Within the secured safe in which the cryptex was found in, clues were written to help solve the combination of the cylinder.

After fleeing from the scene of the crime originally, the police began searching for Langdon and Neveu. Knowing they could no longer stick around, the two detectives decided to take their clues and artifacts to Sir Leigh Teabing who was an expert in Holy Grail. They were able to flee the country on Teabing’s private plane. While on their journey, they were able to open the cryptex. To their surprise, another cryptex was found inside which needed to be solved. Similar to the last one, clues were once again found inside leading to the combination. This time, the following riddle directed them to seek the orb that should be on the tomb of “a knight a pope interred”. This was in reference to the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton in which was located in Westminster Abbey.

As the clues begin to unfold even further, it is realized that Sir Leigh Teabing was the one who plotted the death of Sauniere. Not only did he plot his death but he was also believed to know the identities of the leaders of the Priory of Sion. It is believed that the reason for Teabing’s actions was because the Priory of Sion supposedly broke their vow to reveal the secret of Grail at a particular time. Teabing later planned to steal the documents of Grail and reveal them to the world under his own power. Trying to be sneaky about his identity and plan to take the keystone, Teabing called upon Silas to capture the keystone once they were in his house. Quickly aborting that idea, Teabing decided to use Neveu and Langdon to help solve and decode the cryptex. While at Teabing’s house, the police were able to track the location of Langdon and Neveu based on the vehicle they stole when they left the bank. This resulted in a raid of Teabing’s house, causing them to flee to a temple in London. Catching on to Teabing’s diabolic plans, Langdon secretly opens the second cryptex revealing the message inside. Teabing was then arrested by officials. While being taken out, Teabing begs Langdon to reveal what the message inside said and the secret location of the Grail. After the events that had taken place, both Neveu and Langdon are found not guilty of any crimes and their warrants for arrest are both lifted. As the novel ends, the details of the second letter are revealed. The Grail is buried beneath the small pyramid which is directly below the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre. In the final paragraph of the book, Langdon solves the final piece of the puzzle but does not feel the need to share it with anyone.

The whole idea of the Da Vinci code has sparked criticism across the Christian community. The idea of Mary Magdalene marrying Jesus Christ is just obscured and goes against the whole religion of Christianity. Although this is a fiction novel, the ideas behind it have raised questions to many. Much of this criticism may have never come about if the author Dan Brown did not publish a page in his book titled “Fact”. The idea of this being a fiction book can be slightly misleading due to some opinions placed in this novel. This indeed makes people wonder where exactly the line between fact and fiction is. Not only has the Da Vinci code placed controversy on the religious end of things, it has also inaccurately portrayed geographic and historical information about the European region. This has caused the region of Europe to place signs on their tourist attractions informing tourist that things found in the Da Vinci code may have misrepresented the region. Author Dan Brown had tried to redeem himself by saying that the novel is indeed a fiction novel but as far as geography and history go, it has all been researched and is accurately stated in the book. During the heat of all this controversy, Dan Brown had sat down with NBC Today host, Matt Lauer. During this interview, Brown was asked various questions about his highly criticized novel, The Da Vinci Code. Below I have listed an excerpt from this interview which I found on the Britannica Online Encyclopedia website via the author of an article titled “American Speculator” by Gregory Alan Thornbury.

Matt: How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred? I know you did a lot of research for the book.
Dan: Absolutely all of it, obviously, there are—Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact.

The statement above raised the most questions during this whole interview. One of the most important questions is, where exactly did he find this evidence? All of history and geography states almost exactly opposite to what Mr. Brown is saying. It is believed that Brown has attained many of his ideas from arguments made from a previous book titled, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”. The debate held in this book is that there were two Holy Scriptures, one which was the Gospel of Philip and the other was the Gospel of Mary. It is believed that within these scriptures, Jesus was found kissing Mary Magdalene as opposed to the idea that Jesus claimed he was married in the Da Vinci Code. Both of these books have been frowned upon in the Christian churches.  Below I have listed some other quotes from the book that state some of the inaccuracy of this book. Again this is a fiction novel, but after the author had quoted that all the information is fact has made this book very controversial. The following facts are from Margaret M. Mitchell who is the associated professor of the New Testament and the chair of the department of the New Testament and early Christian at the University of Chicago.

  • “Rome’s official religion was sun worship”
  • The marriage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus is “a matter of historical records”
  • Constantine invented the divinity of Jesus and excluded all gospels but the four canonical ones.
  • Constantine made Christianity “the official language” of the Roman Empire
  • Constantine coined the term “heretic”

These are just a few examples of some of the inaccuracies of the novel. Many more can be found within the book itself.
Although it may seem this paper is more construed to be against the novel, it really is just trying to point out the controversy of the topic at hand. Besides all the controversy, this novel was very successful in many ways. As of 2009, over 80 million copies of the novel were sold across the globe. Amongst the 80 copies sold, the novel has been translated into 44 different languages. Though the controversy of this novel may be looked at as a bad thing, from a sales point of view, people may begin to purchase this novel to evaluate the true accuracy of the book. The evaluation of this controversy is now in your hands. After reading this, you may be encouraged to read the book if you have not already done so. If this is the case, it is encouraged that you take the time to read the Da Vinci code and establish you own thoughts and views.

Quick Facts

Nationality - Italian
Place of Birth - Vinci, Italy
Born - April 15, 1452
Died - May 2, 1519
Education - Apprentice to Andrea del Verrocchio
Patrons - Pope Leo X, Ludovico Sforza the Duke of Milan, Cesare Borgia and King Francis I of France