The Gospel Code: Novel Claims about Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Da Vinci

by Karen Davis

The Gospel Code confronts revisionist history of the Christian Church as paraded in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Brown asserts the Gnostic texts reveal truths suppressed by the church. Witherington is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and the author of numerous books on the New Testament.

Observe his powerful rebuttal to Brown's claim that Gnostic texts are superior to the four Gospels. He relates the story of the Nag Hammadi documents discovered in a storage jar by two boys in 1945, and he quotes from several of the parchments to let the reader personally explore the Gnostic texts, with clarifying comments. He explores the male emphasis in these documents, and he explains their belief that human sexual expression is defiling. He proves second and third century dates for the writings of these parchments. All these issues exclude the Gnostic texts from the selection of inspired scriptures. Such well-documented, fine attention to detail is solidly persuasive.

Hear the direct refutation given to contemporary writer Elaine Pagels when she says that her study of Gnostic literature has helped her, "clarify what I cannot love: the tendency to identify Christianity with a single, authorized set of beliefs" (p. 92). Witherington replies: "The authors of the Gnostic documents are often more dogmatic than any of the orthodox Christians. They insist that people must have the Gnostic wisdom or their souls will not ascend to heavenThey aren't early advocates of religious pluralism or feminism" (p. 92).

He is equally thorough in showing the writers of the four Gospels had access to eyewitnesses who heard Christ speak and saw His miracles.

Target: Skilled readers

Type: Rebuttal of Da Vinci Code

Take: Highly Recommended

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