Forma in Verbis – The Da Vinci Code – Book Review by Sandra Ramachandran.


Sandra Ramachandran.

Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!
Leonardo da Vinci


Untold veracities, sacred beliefs, ripened anecdotes and most important of all symbols merge together and put forward a compiled historical textbook made edible with eloquently narrated fiction. The paperback unlike other thrillers is exceptionally believable with evidence and research hanging on every word, making the Bible credible and realistic.
Our journey through the most controversial novel starts with the soul of the plot, giving us just a taste of the ‘apple’ and leading us to its core. Louvre curator and Priory of Sion Grand Master Jacques Saunière was fatally shot one night at the museum. Later Saunière’s body is discovered, covered in his own blood and posed as Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’. The book and the film was a rather daring step taken, when the plot defied the ‘conservative’ views about the 2000-year-old mystery about the Holy Grail. It was even denounced by the Pope.  The novel was published 20 years after ‘Holy Grail, Holy Blood’ and hold the same theory: Priory of Sion protecting the Jesus bloodline and Mary Magdalene being the Holy Grail. What most people who read this philosophy say: “Well, it’s not mentioned in the bible!” and this question is ingeniously answered by Brown through Leigh Teabing. While the Bible’s Gospel of Thomas clearly mentions Mary Magdalene being an important disciple, The Gospel of Philip uncovered by a farmer in Western Egypt in December 1949 states that Jesus ‘kissed’ Mary Magdalene in the mouth. While Reverend Jones remarks that this does not prove her of being his spouse nor does it be an erotic activity rather more of a spiritual one. But soon after in the novel, came up another hint, a papyrus retained by a private owner in the Harvard’s University analysis in 2010 mentioned just 33 words where Jesus mentions Magdalene as ‘my wife’; this time not denied.
Another most important evidence pointed out here is Da Vinci’s famous painting, ‘Last Supper’. At Jesus’s right sits a more feminine looking, red flowing haired disciple, although most people argue that it was John Boanerges, son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, the Apostle with a natural feminine appearance. The character Mr Teabings spots and allegedly claims that of being Mary Magdalene, to top it off he spots a letter ‘M’ and ‘V’ (representing a woman’s womb) ‘The Last Supper’ was an attempt of Da Vinci’s new style of applying a mixture of egg yolk, vinegar and sol directly on the wall.  But the effort was a failure and it ended up with the picture falling apart. Another odd thing perceived on Da Vinci’s painting was the lack of a ‘halo’ on top of Jesus and the 12 disciples clearly depicting his belief of Jesus being a common man and also unlike the original writings in the Bible there were 13 grails instead of just one, ‘The Holy Grail’.  The protagonist of the story Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor specialised in religious symbology, the character in real life being John Lanngdon a designer whom Brown contacted to design an anagram of his record ‘Angels and Demons’ which later turned out to be a Robert Langdon book.  The prized element to decode being a cryptex which is a safe box and supposedly one of Da Vinci’s mechanism mentioned in his book ‘Folio B’ in page 33.  The book denies The New Testament and claims it to be tampered by the ‘pagan’ Roman emperor Constantine the Great and his plot to alter the Bible to unify Rome under a single religion Christianity when Paganism declined.  The Prieuré de Sion, translated from French as Priory of Sion, is the name given to a fringe fraternal organisation, founded and dissolved in France in 1956, in the novel, is said to be the protector of Jesus’s bloodline.
Although the Roman Catholic Churches claim of historical inaccuracies, Brown’s book by far gives readers across the globe an insight about ancient rituals, existing mysteries and harmonious guesses towards various inconsistent questions in written history. Many twists and cliff hangers make the novel a hair- raising thriller with well-timed change in characters over the pages and a resplendent truth revealed about Sophia Neveu a DCPJ cryptologist makes the book an astonishing page turner. It is much claimed to be Dan Brown’s finest novel.  One thing for certain, it will surely make even a devotee question their faith!

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