The Da Vinci Code's Top 10 Errors

Editor’s note: The full version of “The Top 10 Da Vinci Code Distortions” is available from Concerned Women for America. See also the accompanying HUMAN EVENTS Top 10 list.

Serious Christians will see through the many lies and historical fictions that Dan Brown plants throughout the best-selling book The Da Vinci Code, but millions will believe that this profoundly dishonest work contains at least some “truth” about Jesus and the church.

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The film version is opening in theaters on May 19. Christians should avoid the movie and thus avoid rewarding Hollywood for blaspheming their Lord, but they also should be equipped with answers to the most dangerous misconceptions.

Dan Brown is peddling one of the oldest known and easily discredited heresies — Gnosticism — and his claims are refuted by the rich history of Christian writing, beginning with the Gospels themselves.

Several books expose the many factual errors and ludicrous assertions in The Da Vinci Code, and the brief list of problems with Brown’s book here is the tip of the iceberg.

1) CLAIM: Jesus was merely a man, not God. Brown says that the “pagan” Roman emperor Constantine, for the purpose of consolidating his power, created the “myth” that Jesus was resurrected after being crucified. (231-234).

ANSWER: Constantine, who converted to Christianity and ended Rome’s persecution of Christians, convened the Council of Nicea in 325, but only to sort out differences among church leaders, all of whom believed Jesus was divine. Early church historians referred routinely to Christ’s divinity, including Ignatius (105 A.D.) and Clement (150 A.D.).[1]

2) CLAIM: The Council of Nicea defined Jesus as God in “a close vote at that.” Constantine chose all the books for inclusion in the Bible as we know it (231).

ANSWER: The Council of Nicea, which took no votes, was convened by Constantine with Christian leaders across the empire mainly to dispense with the theories of Arius (father of Arianism), who claimed that Jesus, while divine, was a created being. Only two of 318 clerics at the Council did not sign the Nicene Creed. The early church had already adopted the Four Gospels and most of the rest of the New Testament as authoritative long before the Council of Nicea.

3) CLAIM: The four New Testament Gospels (the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) comprise a false account. Numerous ancient writings tell a more truthful story.

ANSWER: Brown bases his view on 52 books collectively called the Gnostic Gospels, discovered in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. All were written more than a century after the Biblical Gospels were written. None of these books has any tie to eyewitnesses in Christ’s time, unlike the Gospels themselves.

4) CLAIM: The Da Vinci Code is based on fact.

Here’s the actual beginning of the book:


The Priory of Scion a European secret society founded in 1099 –is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous Members of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo Da Vinci.”[2]

ANSWER: Pierre Plantard, a French anti-Semite fraud, created the “Priory of Sion” in 1956, not 1099, and the documents were found to be counterfeits. There is no evidence that the famous men he cites were involved in any secret society.

5) CLAIM: Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered a daughter with her. Brown claims the church was led by Mary Magdalene, whose role was covered up by a ruthless Catholic Church.

ANSWER: Jesus’ crucifixion and reappearance after the resurrection are perhaps the best-documented theological events in history, with literally hundreds of eyewitnesses. The Roman pagan historian Flavius Josephus recorded the event this way:

He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.[3]

The nonsense about Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and having children with her came from the Plantard forgeries and the Gnostic gospels of Phillip and “Mary Magdala.”

6) CLAIM: Mary Magdalene is pictured in The Last Supper to the left of Jesus.

ANSWER: If that figure is Mary Magdalene, then Leonardo inexplicably left out the apostle John. The youngest disciple, John was often portrayed in a feminine manner to convey youth, as is seen in the stained glass of European cathedrals. No credible art historian has asserted that the John figure in The Last Supper is Mary Magdalene, nor is there is there any mention in Leonardo’s journals.[4]

7) CLAIM: The Catholic organization Opus Dei (The Work of God) has an inner network of zealous members who would do anything to keep people from discovering that Christianity’s central claims are false. The chief murderer in The Da Vinci Code is a self-flagellating Opus Dei “monk.”

ANSWER: Opus Dei, which Brown correctly notes was founded in 1928, has no monks, although it does have “numeraries” of both sexes who pledge celibacy and live in single-sex centers. Although Brown says on Page 428 that Opus Dei and the Vatican were “completely innocent” of the immediate crimes in the book, the overall historical impression remains of a dangerously secretive cult-like group. Opus Dei was created to energize lay Catholics into taking their faith more seriously, not to advance a false gospel.

8) CLAIM: The “sacred feminine” was at the heart of the early church, but was ruthlessly suppressed. “It was man, not God, who created the concept of ‘original sin,’ whereby Eve tasted of the apple and caused the downfall of the human race. Woman, once the sacred giver of life, was now the enemy” (238).

ANSWER: Once again (and throughout the book), Brown calls Scripture a colossal lie. Far from oppressing women, the church has proved to be a liberating force. Women have achieved unprecedented status in nations where Christianity has had an impact. Jesus honored women among His followers. Mary Magdalene was the first to discover the empty tomb, see the resurrected Christ, and to tell the other believers.

9) Claim: The Bible is an ever-changing living document. The Bible “has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book,” Brown writes (231).

ANSWER: No other book in antiquity has as many manuscripts that are consistently accurate, even after 2,000 years. The New Testament, of which 5,000 early copies exist,[5] also has the shortest gap between time of authorship (55-95 A.D.) and the earliest copies (around 200 A.D.). Other ancient books have gaps of 1,000 years or more.

10) CLAIM: Even Walt Disney was a devotee of the Mary Magdalene cult.

ANSWER: “‘Once you open your eyes to [Mary Magdalene as] the Holy Grail,’ [fictional character Robert] Langdon said, ‘you see her everywhere.’

“Langdon held up his Mickey Mouse watch and told her that Walt Disney had made it his quiet life’s work to pass on the Grail story to future generations” (261).

Mark Pinsky, author of The Gospel According to Disney, told the Culture & Family Institute: “I’d give it no credence whatever.” The mention of Disney as a devotee of the Grail in The Da Vinci Code “is the first that I’d read about it.”[6]


The Da Vinci Code is a clever and dangerous book suffused with lies, distortions, Satanic imagery and historical inaccuracies, all designed to cast doubt in readers’ minds about the deity of Jesus Christ. Brown is trying to resurrect the old sex-based pagan fertility cults that Judaism and Christianity replaced while advancing civilization.

By claiming that man, not God, inspired the Bible, Brown is appealing to the same pride that Satan did when he promised Eve in the Book of Genesis that “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

The good news is that the truth will overcome lies.

Jesus promised: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 NKJV).

[1] Jim Garlow and Peter Jones, Cracking Da Vinci’s Code (Colorado Springs: Victor, an imprint of Cook Communications, 2004), p. 94, and cited in D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcomb, The Da Vinci Myth Versus the Gospel Truth (Fort Lauderdale: Coral Ridge Ministries, 2006), p. 43.

[2] Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday, 2003), p. 1.

[3] Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston, The Works of Josephus (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987), p. 480.

[4] Amy Welborn, author, De-coding Mary Magdalene: Truth, Legend, and Lies (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2004), commenting in The Da Vinci Delusion (Fort Lauderdale: Coral Ridge Ministries, DVD, 2006).

[5] Kennedy and Newcomb, op. cit., p. 46.

[6] Telephone interview with Robert Knight, May 4, 2006.