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Variety and HollywoodReporter Slam the DVC movie

Two trade views of the DVC movie, from rival publications yet remarkably consistent.

From the review by HollywoodReporter,

Bottom line: A jumble of historical myth, religious symbology and international thriller-action makes for an unwieldy, bloated melodrama.

From the review by Variety of the DVC movie ... Some highlights

perhaps the best thing the project's critics could have hoped for.

high-minded lurid material sucked dry by a desperately solemn approach

Sitting through all the verbose explanations and speculations about symbols, codes, secret cults, religious history and covert messages in art, it is impossible to believe that, had the novel never existed, such a script would ever have been considered by a Hollywood studio.

Variety has an honest insight into why the DVC book and movie has any appeal whatsoever, in spite of the high-fallutin' academic-lecture atmospherics ...

It's esoteric, heady stuff, made compelling only by the fact that what it's proposing (emphasis added) undermines the fundamental tenants of Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, and, by extension, Western Civilization for the past 2,000 years

It's all in the proposing and the refutation.

So if you have already read the proposition of the DVC, do yourself a big, big favor and see what Christianity proposes about itself. Start by reading any of the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John - aka eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus). Check out the Early Church Fathers here or here or here ... find out what verifiable church history really says.

Comments

What I find peculiar about the Gospels is that John doesn't follow the narrative of the other three Gospels. This and the fact that their are four gospels instead of one is what opens the door to the type of thing that the Da Vinci Code exploits.

One peculiar thing has emerged for me. The idea that the Roman Emperor would move the sabbath to Sunday, and insist on male ascendancy and a deminishing of the so called 'sacred feminine'.

That last part makes much sense to me. Roman Law relied heavily on male ascendancy and male primacy. In Roman Law, the eldest male held the control of life or death over all persons (or was it all males - I can't remember this detail from Comparative Law class I had at Wash U) in his family. This primacy of the eldest male, by the way explains the phenomina of the Mafia - bear with me here...

When the Roman Empire collapsed, the barbarians brought with them their law. What then happened was a bit of mixing of the two traditions. France, until Napolean, had more than one legal system: in the North the system was heavily influenced by the law of the Franks, in Provence, the bias more heavily to Roman law. Spain, the provence of the Visigoths, had a mixture of two traditions. But in Southern Italy and Sicily Roman law continued with little out side influence, until the importation of the Napoleonic code, which was largely a modernization of Roman Law.

Meanwhile in Sicily, after over 2000 years of Roman law, the formal and official reception of the Napoleanic code was bound to take a long time before it was informally received into the culture. Thus you have Sicilian families in the modern era still acting out against the achronistic Roman Law, in defiance of modern Law, here or in Italy. The eldest male of an important family still controled the life or death of his family.

If Emperor Constantine was trying to import Christianity into Roman life, for that importation to succeed, at least culturally, it would be important that Male primacy was part of the picture. A system of Female primacy or Female equality just wouldn't work. It just wouldn't be received.

Much of early Church history is about making Judeo-Christianity map to Greco-Roman culture. St. Augustine is perhaps the most famous in this area. So I find the idea of Constantine insisting on male primacy as an intriging discussion.

As far as my own personal faith, some guy writing a novel is not likely to have any impact on my faith. My faith is not based upon historical data. For me the very concept of Christ is compelling and makes sense along with some of his direct teachings, especially that business of separation of Church and State. If you love history you can't help but marvel at the wisdom, or the curious business that comes from tying state to religion.

I don't really understand the reaction many Christian people are having to this movie. But it makes it great fun. Blessed are those who have not seen but still believe. Making a big deal out of this, seems silly.

I would like to see more scholarship on the era of the first century and a half of Christianity, or even that leading up to the collapse of Rome. I don't think people became Christians because of the fire and brimston aspect, or because Christ redeemed for Adam's sin, you have had to have known who Adam was and what he did for that. I suspect that Christianity spread as it did, simple because Christ stands very well on his own, with out threats of fire and brimstone, without knowledge ancient Jewish text. But that's just my opinion. Maybe this Da Vinci Code controversy will throw more light on the first through fourth centuries of Christianity.

Oh, and by the way, Christianity did not cause Rome's collapse. The collapse of the commercial economy caused this. In the late Roman Period, Wealth and Power became so concentrated that 6 senators controled half of North Africa. The wealthy and powerful used their influence to avoid paying taxes. The concentration of wealth meant that there was little tax base to draw from wich caused the Army to be too small to adequately protect its borders and check barbarian infiltration and invasion.

This all might have occured because of the creation of the Latifunde system - which turned farm workers into serfs - slaves tied to the land. In other words, the decommercialization of a huge percentage of the population. Serfs can't really afford to pay taxes. The irony is that the latifunde system, along with Christianity, was introduced by Constantine.

Ironically, its the latifunde system that was imported into Mexico from Spain that causes Mexico to have enormous class divisions and immense poverty that in turn sends millions to seek relief in the United States, in a manner not much different from Barbarians entering Roman Territory. Mexico is enoromously productive, has hard working people, good climate, resources and an excellent location - a broader distribution of wealth would quickly push Mexico into the first world (just as it pushed Spain into the first world, as entry into the EU required Spain to do so in the 1970s). Meanwhile we have policies in the US leading towards ever increasing concentrations of wealth and power, the wealthy and powerful then using their influence to avoid tax obligations and the most powerful nation on earth not being able to afford large enough force to protect its borders.

History does repeat itself in the most peculiar of ways.

Tim, thx for your comments. Some interesting points.

However, with regards to changing the Sabbath to Sunday, that was done by the early church in the several hundred years before Constatine. Check out this set of citations from the Early Church Fathers for evidence to that effect.

There are a number of Early Church Fathers for whom there is quite of body of writing, and significant active scholarship. Check out for a popular overview.

Likewise, with regards to "male ascendancy" please consider two points. First, all known bishops etc. of the Church were male in the 300+ years before Constantine, so there was nothing for him to change.

Second and perhaps most important, women are revered in the institutional Church like in no other Western institution. In particular, the highest regarded individual human being ever is Mary, the mother of God. She is regarded above every priest, every bishop, every pope, every man that ever has been or ever will be. In addition, the two most recent "Doctors" of the Church (out of a total of 33 over 2,000 years) are women.

Anyhow gotta go to a mtg right now ... more later. Thx again for stopping by!

Oops - my bad on the second link. I meant to link to this. Thx.

You do a great disservice to your cause by misrepresenting the Gospels as eyewitness accounts, when all biblical scholars freely admit they were written DECADES after the fact.

Don, thx for stopping by.

I am using the term "eyewitness accounts" in the same way it is widely used in journalist circles today - not necessarily that the journalist themselves saw the events described, but that they are at least writing from information gathered by those who witnessed the events.

Furthremore, to say that something is an eyewitness account does not imply that the account was written at the same time as the events. For example, there are still eyewitness accounts of the holocaust being written as we speak, though those events occurrend more than 60 years ago.

Don, I freely admit that I am not myself an authoritative scholar on the formation of the canonical gospels.

What I do know is that the Church has always held (from its very early days) that the canonical gospels were generally written by either an apostle or one of their direct disciples.

See these articles for good overviews: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

SO that is what I mean by "eyewitness accounts".

Don, thx for stopping by.

I am using the term "eyewitness accounts" in the same way it is widely used in journalist circles today - not necessarily that the journalist themselves saw the events described, but that they are at least writing from information gathered by those who witnessed the events.

Furthremore, to say that something is an eyewitness account does not imply that the account was written at the same time as the events. For example, there are still eyewitness accounts of the holocaust being written as we speak, though those events occurrend more than 60 years ago.

Don, I freely admit that I am not myself an authoritative scholar on the formation of the canonical gospels.

What I do know is that the Church has always held (from its very early days) that the canonical gospels were generally written by either an apostle or one of their direct disciples.

See these articles for good overviews: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

SO that is what I mean by "eyewitness accounts".

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