The root cause of the confusion of fact or fiction comes from the title page of Dan Brown's book - DVC, which says:
“All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”
So here are the claims from the book and the historical fact:
The Priory of Sion is a European secret society founded in 1099 by Godefroi to protect the bloodline of Jesus and Mary (p.345).
- Pierre Plantard formed Priory of Sion in 1954 to help those in need of low-cost housing (group dissolved in 1957).
- 1960s and 70s Plantard created a series of forged documents on the existence of a bloodline descending from Jesus and Mary through the kings of France to himself.
- He and his associates called themselves the Priory of Sion and deposited these documents in libraries all over France, including the National Library.
- 1993 Plantard admitted, under an oath to a French judge, for this fabrication. The judge issued him a severe warning and dismissed him as a harmless crank.
In 1975 parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets were discovered identifying members of Priory of Sion such as Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo Da Vinci, Grandmaster of The Priory of Sion left cryptic clues in his painting The Last Supper that the person on Jesus’ right is not John the disciple, but Mary Magdalene – supposed ‘evidence’ that Jesus had a special relationship with her that leads to marriage and a child: “The Last Supper practically shouts at the viewer that Jesus and Magdalene were a pair” (p.329).
- Leonardo Da Vinci was born in 1452. That would have made him 502 years old if he were to be really a Grandmaster of the Priory of Sion society! As for Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), he was at least 312 when he was a member. Absurd?
In Brown’s book, Pope Clement V suppressed the Knight Templars because they blackmailed him with the secret of the Holy Grail. “And these four chests of documents were the treasure that the Knights Templar found under Solomon’s Temple?” (p.344)
- Founded in 118, the Knights Templar is an order of soldiers who took a monastic vow to protect pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land. They are a military religious order. It was King Philip who ordered the arrest of the Templar on Friday, 13 Oct 1307, not for any Holy Grail trail, but on the charge of heresy. This allowed Philip to seize their enormous wealth and assets, including the chalice supposedly used by Christ at the last supper.
“The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercion and a dangerous practice known as ‘corporal mortification’. Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million World Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York.”
- The real Opus Dei (founded 2 Oct 1928) —“work of God”—is a Roman Catholic lay organization that empowers lay people to emphasize piety and good works, instead of focusing on the spirituality of clergy. Its founder San Josemaria Escriva was born in Babastros, Spain, in 1902. The portrayal in The Da Vinci Code as existing to suppress documents of the Priory of Sion is pure fabrication. If that were true, Opus Dei would have existed way before the founder, San Josemaria Escriva was born. Absurd?
“The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine (p.231)….Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man….Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier [Gnostic] gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned” (p.234).
- Constantine could not have collected and altered the combined evidence of history that preceded him because other ancient documents (beside the New Testament that we have—which Brown accused Constantine for tampering them) do tell the stories of Christ and his sufferings, death and resurrection. And in history there is no evidence that Constantine ordered the burning of any Gnostic gospels. What were burned were Arian papers found by the Council of Nicaea to be heretical.
IMHO, the more I think about it, the DVC instigate a suppressed curiosity of almost everyone in the planet to challenge the truth as we know it, it's not just about Jesus and Mary Magdalene or the Opus Dei conspiracy or the existence of the Priory of Sion. It's much deeper than that, in fact, it's age old, from the very first book of the bible itself, the temptation was not the apple, but more of the curiousity of the knowledge of good and evil; in finding the truth. "What is the truth?" When the Pontius Pilate asked Jesus that question, have you wondered why he just stood there and not answer?
The same question exist today. And I can't deny that I have also asked that question more than a few times. Some of us go to great length to understand and research the truth to answer the question that arise. Others, take the path of faith. Whether we choose to be biblical scholars or historians or faithful believers or a combination, we all have a part to play in His Kingdom. In all humility, the answer to my questions I find, lies in the words before the question, "Everyone who is of the truth, hears My voice". I have to admit, sometimes or most times, I don't hear His voice or perhaps knowing or unknowingly I choose not to. Maybe, there is some good that came out of this DVC controversy, at least for me anyway. Maybe El was right in saying that if this serves to shakes ones 's faith, then it's a good thing. Happy reading!