I received the following email from a friend of mine:
"DaVinci Code is so popular, and next year it will be made into a movie. Our
library has three copies of DVC that are never available because they are
constantly checked out or on hold. However, we have no "debunking" DaVinci type
books. I suggest that the best one is DaVinci Hoax, by Carl Olsen and Sandra
Meisel, but whatever one you want to recommend (Amy Welborn has one, Steve
Kellmeyer has one, too) I think one of them would be good to recommend on your St.
Nicholas list. Our libraries should tell the truth, too."
. . . If you go to our archives, you will find info on Welborn's book in
message #17 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PopeSaintNicholasV/message/17
Here is the Olsen and Meisel book:
Title: The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code
Author: Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Date Published: July, 2004
Price: Paperback $15.95
Comments: A critical review of the #1 Bestseller The DaVinci Code
Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago
"The definitive debunking."
Marvin Olasky, editor of World Magazine
"A clearly-written antidote."
Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies,
Pennsylvania State University
"Unlike the original Code, The Da Vinci Hoax is a delight to read."
About the Author
Carl E. Olson is the editor of Envoy magazine. Raised in a Fundamentalist
home, he attended an Evangelical Bible college. Carl entered the Catholic Church
in 1997 and holds an MTS from the University of Dallas. A well-respected
author, he has written for First Things, This Rock, Envoy, Crisis, National Review
Online, Our Sunday Visitor, and National Catholic Register. His bestselling
book, Will Catholic Be "Left Behind"? (Ignatius, 2003) was selected by the
Associated Press as one of the best religious titles of 2003. Carl lives with his
wife and daughter in Eugene, Oregon.
Sandra Miesel holds masters’ degrees in biochemistry and medieval history
from the University of Illinois. Since 1983, she has written hundreds of articles
for the Catholic press, chiefly on history, art, and hagiography. She
regularly appears in Crisis magazine and is a columnist for the diocesan paper of
Norwich, Connecticut. Sandra has spoken at religious and academic conferences,
appeared on EWTN, and given numerous radio interviews. Outside the Catholic
sphere, she has also written, analyzed, and edited fiction. Sandra and her husband
John have raised three children.
Excerpted from The Da Vinci Hoax: The Truth About Jesus, Christianity, Mary
Magdalene, and the Da Vinci Code by Carl E. Olson, Sandra Miesel. Copyright ©
2004. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The title of this book by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel says it all. The
novel, The Da Vinci Code, is engaging and intriguing. It is a thriller presented as
an historical novel. It is fiction, yet it seeks to convince the reader that
it is based on fact. It pushes an attack on the Catholic Church and claims to
do so in the name of historical authenticity and sound scholarship. The claim
is preposterous, but persuasive for many.
The authors of The Da Vinci Hoax deserve our gratitude for exposing in
considerable detail and with sure touch the fabrications of Dan Brown’s book. Theirs
is the definitive debunking. In the end, the fallacy of Brown’s book is a
common one. It approaches the Christian faith as though its contents were to be
found in words and documents rather than in the witness and collective memory
of the community Christ himself left behind, His Church.
There have been such writings before and, no doubt, will be again. Why single
out this novel? I read it because so many people who read it kept asking me
questions about it. It has had a remarkably large and credulous readership,
reminding me of the dictum that those who have lost or don’t know the faith are
likely to believe anything. It matters what we read, what films and television
we watch. If we feed our minds on error, we risk losing touch with the truth
about who we are and how we ought to live.
We find salvation through self-surrender in faith to Christ, not from
personal ideas or inspirations. Once the anchor of the Church’s authentic witness and
teaching is abandoned, gnostic or other false theories inevitably appear.
Antagonism to the Church and her teaching ultimately entails some kind of
rejection of Jesus Christ as he has revealed himself in history. His truth is always
a challenge to every egocentric vision of reality and to an unbounded will for
human autonomy. Besides, does anyone really think that all those martyrs went
to their deaths to protect the secret that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were
—Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s best selling novel, purports to be more than
fiction: it claims to be based on fact and scholarly research. Brown wants his
readers to believe that he is revealing the long-concealed truth about Jesus,
Mary Magdalene, and early Christianity, a truth that he says has been
suppressed by the malevolent and conspiratorial forces of the Catholic Church. The
novel alleges that there has been throughout history a secret group of true
followers of a Gnostic Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene, the true "Holy Grail".
Almost everything most Christians and non-Christians think they know about
Jesus, according to Dan Brown, is completely wrong, the result of Catholic
propaganda designed to hide the truth from the world.
But are The Da Vinci Code’s claims fact or just plain fiction? Is the novel
well-researched as claimed? What is the truth about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and
the early Church? Has the Catholic Church distorted the real Jesus? Why is the
novel so popular? What about the anti-Catholic, anti-Christian agenda behind
Best selling author Carl Olson and journalist Sandra Miesel answer these and
other important questions. Their painstaking research into The Da Vinci Code
and its sources reveals some surprising truths. No one who has read or heard
about The Da Vinci Code should miss this provocative and illuminating new book.
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