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Publisher's Summary

Dan Brown's immensely popular New York Times best-selling The Da Vinci Code is one of the most successful books of recent history. It has captivated millions the world over with its enthralling suspense and its provocative questions about the true nature of Jesus' life. But is there any truth to this clever work of fiction? Brown makes the extraordinary claim that all the historical information in his book is factually true. Historian Bart D. Ehrman, an authority on Jesus and the early Church, reveals that Brown's book is actually riddled with historical errors. In witty fashion, Ehrman separates fact from fiction, delivering the truth behind the code.
©2004 Oxford University Press, Inc.; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"His is a documentary approach, avoiding speculation and theory. This tone distinguishes the book from many other responses to Brown's novel that uphold a particular theological agenda....This is a very readable treatment of some difficult themes." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

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By John Mertus on 01-23-05

A historian's approach to the Da Vinci code

I choose to read this book about the Da Vinci code because of Dr. Ehrman's credentials as a historian and I was not disappointed.

This book is not about rigid thinking but about how one can evaluate the surviving gospel texts and reach likely conclusions about who Jesus really was. For example, Dr. Ehrman discounts the premise of the Da Vinci code that Jesus was married by painstakingly looking at what the writings say and what is reasonable in the context of the 1st century.

His conclusion is that it is highly unlikely Jesus was married but not impossible. This might throw people off who want a definite answer of yes or no, or do not want to examine the evidence in detail in order to reach one's own conclusion.

If you believe you have a scholars approach to thinking, or have a mind that wants to learn how a historian approaches history, then I believe you will find this book excellent. I highly recommend it. But if you want to be told what is right or wrong, look somewhere else.

Lastly, if you are a Christian who believes in the divine nature of bibical writings, then this book is not for you because its premise is that the gospels must be looked at with a critical eye, not accepted blindly.

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46 of 47 people found this review helpful


By Joshua on 01-23-05

Refreshingly objective

Excellent review. This may be a shocker: the author knows that the Da Vinci code is a fictional story so we should not be so concerned about what it says. Many Christian authors have taken offense to the implications of Dan Brown's book, and set off to "setting the facts straight." Ehrman says this is a bad perspective to review history from. However, he states that a book as popular as Brown's has a tendency to shape the popular view of history, just as Mel Gibson's "The Passion" will shape the veiw of the crucifixion for at least a generation or two. Thus, we must make sure that the public is well informed about what is true, what is a half-truth and what is just plain made up. He goes about this from a purely historical perspective without stating any theological or philosophical opinions of his own. The book is slightly slow, but written for a layperson, rather than a historical expert who would already know everything Ehrman wrote. So it gives in depth explainations and is full of useful information on various subjects. If you want to know the real history of the Christian church and dont want to hear some author's opinion about everything, get this book and not any of the plethora of others.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Teresa Cooper on 08-13-15

Digging into the Da Vinci code.

Bart. D. Ehrman makes it very clear through out the book that he is only showing the historical and biblical mistakes made by Dan Brown in the Da Vinci Code, which he does in a readable way, and he is in no way damming the book,which he personally thinks is a great piece of thriller writing. I would most definitely recommend this book and re read it myself.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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