Sunday, May 28, 2006

Leave Leo Da Vinci alone

A diversion from the political, but I’m getting a little weary of people thrusting the Da Vinci Code at me, describing it the most incredible superlatives and exhorting me to read it.

I have a reputation as a reader, which is sad when you think about it. Apparently people read so infrequently that someone who prefers a book to other media is considered somehow different.

But no, I haven’t read the book and I have no intention of doing so.

Mind you, I’m not dismissing the book for the same reason as some vocal church groups.

In the end, I cannot see how the trust of the Gospels would be altered one bit by a revelation that Jesus had ‘a significant other’.
His domestic lifestyle really had little bearing on the key messages; it was Saul of Tarsus who introduced personal lifestyle issues to the scriptures.

In a way, when the book first hit the public eye, I was a more stuck by the feeling of; “been there, done that,” and with more compelling and perhaps scholarly writers.

Names like Barbara Thering, the controversial Australian biblical commentator. Even more profound to me, on these issues, was Robert Graves.

Graves was forthright about the shortcomings of his novel ‘King Jesus’, which was a vehicle for his theory of ‘sacred kingship’.

I was fascinated to find a comment on Daily Kos recently: A more serious look at the maelstrom of 1st century AD Jewish, pagan, Christian, Roman and Greek theology is to be found in Robert Graves historical novel "King Jesus".

In fact, if anyone was being ripped, it was the distinguished author of " I Claudius " and "Goodbye To All That"...

"King Jesus" is either consided to be unreadable or the most controversial and brilliant of his books.

That sums up
That comment sums up my views on the matter nicely.

The other major issue I have is a personal aversion to conspiracy theories. Admittedly, my record on things empirical is patchy.
I admire the ‘evidence based’ concept, but too often run with a gut feeling first and catch up with hard fact later.

However I cannot be accused of going so far as to promote wild conspiracies, no matter how attractive they might appear.

The fact is, the shadowy conspiracies, which I am told underpin the Da Vinci Code, have been around for many years, and long ago discounted.
As for Da Vinci himself, there is simply no documentary evidence existing, or even reported as existing, which would support the claim.
It is a fictional construct, pure and simple. He was brilliant in his own right, so leave the poor bugger alone.

In short, the Da Vinci Code is a fiction, albeit into one which has tapped into the spiritual vacuum of our times. There are many works which posit a different, and perhaps more identifiable Jesus than the dominant church view would allow.

Unlike the ‘Code’, these works generally suffer the stigma of scholarship, rendering them inaccessible to the majority. A majority, it would seem, who have been bought up on a diet of pre-chewed, predigested and entertaining beliefs.

I would encourage anyone to read, even the Da Vinci Code.

Reading is a great way of seeing the many facets of this complex Further, I would encourage people to read critically, to question. Not in the ‘if black was really white’ or that sounds plausible; but to really think about ideas in the context of the real world.

Either that, or just enjoy the ideas as entertainment and move on.


Praguetwin said...

I read the book about a year ago on a recomendation of a friend. He and I both took it for what it was: fictional entertainment.

The general reaction to this book is interesting on both sides. On one hand, the blood-lust of those who want to believe that we live in a world of conspiracies and believe that unearthing them will somehow deliver us to the promised land. Those who use this book as evidence to support their basic construct are the bottom feeders of today's intelectual community.

On the other hand, you have the old power structures that fear every attack on their self ordained superiority and self proclaimed mandate to control history and public opinion.

I'm not sure which is more paranoid.

Suffice to say, anyone who gets all wadded up over this book/movie, suffers from some type of dimentia.

Cartledge said...

the bottom feeders of today's intelectual community.
It used to be psuedo ittelectuals, but I think that is far more descriptive.
I was reluctant to even raise the sideshow, but I do get cornered on this one.

Anonymous said...

Well, it might be comforting for some that they've banned the book in Pakistan.