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The Da Vinci Code controversy....and then some!
Everybody is talking about Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code! NBC Dateline with Stone Phillips just ran (05-26-06) a one hour special entitled Secrets To The Code. If you walk through any store with book racks your visual and mental senses are immediately bombarded by Brown’s book and all sorts of related special releases and headlines, like U.S. News & World Report’s Secrets of the Da Vinci Code containing a wide-range of articles and details and pictures from The Da Vince Code movie, an article on Dan Brown himself; what we know about Mary Magdalene, as well as overlooked links to ancient goddesses and fertility cults; the Gnostic gospels, with an extensive look at the intriguing Nag Hammadi; a reproduction of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, reviewing the key elements from The Da Vinci Code regarding the historic painting; Constantine and the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., and other “forks in the road” during Christianity’s early evolution; the possible roles of the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion; etc., etc.
“I read the book a few months ago and saw the movie yesterday,” Judy Kennedy, author of the newly published Spiritual Practice, Occultism, and Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stated in a recent email. “I know the movie is not getting great reviews but I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed it very much. I get a lot of ‘truth sense’ from the historical facts and believe that the story started long before Jesus and Mary.” At this point, Judy recommends that we read an article on the Da Vinci Code, that expounds upon this early component, which she wrote and just posted at: http://alternativeapproaches.com/pnuke1/Article1612.html
Then she continues, “Regardless of whether or not the evidence is clearly supported, what is most important is that what the Holy Grail symbolizes (and it is many things) is returning (see pp. 285-288 in my book) and the Divine Feminine is once more beginning to receive some overdue recognition. Figuratively, the Goddess is resurrecting, but she’s still got a long way to go. Dominator Society/Patriarchy/imbalance still prevail. The final scene in the movie conveyed that symbolism strongly. Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon is kneeling at the base of the pyramid at the Louvre with tears in his eyes, of both mourning and reverence I believe, looking down through the floor where he sees the effigy of Mary Magdalene lying at rest on top of the casket. I think that was a message to us all. And if the book and movie do nothing else, at least it’s getting people to think and talk about these things finally. It’s bringing symbolism 101 to the masses and that’s a great accomplishment as it is.”
“My thoughts on the completeness and/or accuracy of the Christian Bible pretty much parallel those who support the theory of the bloodline. The Old Testament was a condensed copy of older Sumerian records replete with mistranslations. The New Testament has been edited with much left out in terms of gospels that should have been included. However, this does not make the Bible a useless instrument. I believe that many of its stories and parables present great truths and spiritual principles, especially if interpreted allegorically. Plus there are added revelations when Qabalistic gematria (numerology) is applied to some of the words. Generally though, it’s neither black or white but usually somewhere in between.”
In summation, Judy concludes, “The only true authority is in one’s own heart, in my opinion.”
Tony Pratt, host of WRFN’s Paranormal Nashville authored The Alabaster Box, a screenplay that strives to fill in the missing gaps in the lives of Jesus and his mother Mary.
What did Tony base his screenplay on? He explains, “It’s based on The Gospel of Mary attributed to Matthew, the Protevangelion ascribed to James the lesser along with the first Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ Gospel of Thomas and second Thomas’s Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ.” He adds, “(It’s) about an otherwise historically undocumented period of time in the lives of Mary, Jesus and Joseph,” and explains that “The Alabaster Box is full of surprises.” In a brief synopsis Tony includes these revelations (there are many more):
A voice from the ark and mercy seat give instructions for choosing a husband for Mary.
Jesus is born in a cave built into a stable as a most prodigious light illuminates the cave.
On the eight day the old woman acting as Moel circumcises Jesus placing the foreskin within an alabaster box of old oil of spikenard, thus preserving it. Now this is that same alabaster box which Mary Magdalene the sinner procured, and poured forth the ointment out of it upon the head and the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wiped it off with the hairs of her head.
King Herod decrees to kill all the male children two years old and under. Mary prays and a mountain divides opening up and an angelic protector appears to preserve them. Mary, Jesus, and Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, escape through the mountain. The voice of God vows to send an avenger for the murder of Zacharias the high priest.
A talking idol proclaims Jesus is the son of the true god before crumbling to dust.
Jesus casts out Satan in the form of a serpent, a dragon and a young man.
Jesus cures lepers and heals all manner of illnesses even curing a newlywed man’s impotence.
Jesus restores a man who had been bewitched by a sorceress and turned into a mule.
Jesus makes clay figures of birds and animals which walk and fly as well as eat and drink.
When a priest lifts his hand to strike Jesus his hand is withered and he instantly dies.
When a boy falls off a roof Jesus is accused of making him fall. Jesus causes him to speak raising him from the dead in the process so he can tell his parents the truth about what really happened.
Jesus transforms a group of boys into kids who jump about and then returns them back to boys again.
Regarding his sources for The Alabaster Box, Tony states: “As far as I know they are the only ones that tell the story of Mary’s birth and Jesus’s childhood from birth until age 12. This represents a huge chunk of time in Christ’s early life not to mention the birth and life of Mary. This period leading up to Jesus’s appearance on the scene is a glaring omission in the New Testament. I think the King James got it basically right. But, it is still incomplete without knowledge of the events leading up to his ministry.”
When I questioned Tony about the influences of forces and movements like Constantine and the Council of Nicea, he stated: “The Roman emperors considered themselves godlike overlords and had little patience for being challenged by early Christian’s claims of Jesus’s eternal lordship. This threatened their power in a direct manner and they retaliated accordingly. It became like systematic genocide when Nero blamed Christians for the burning of Rome and charged them with arson. He described them as a people ‘given to a new and mischievous superstition.’ When Constantine experienced a personal vision he became an unexpected hero for Christianity. He kind of hedged his bets by becoming at least in part a Christian. He didn’t actually convert but became a patron for one particular branch of Christianity which considered themselves messianic Jewish believers and included use of the Old Testament books. Constantine upon becoming emperor did begin persecuting other Christians, specifically targeting the Gnostics and daulist Christians who didn’t have the Old Testament as part of their canon.
I asked Tony what could we hope to learn or glean from reading and researching these uncanonized, or so-called Gnostic or “lost books” of the Bible? “More than we will know if we don’t learn the whole story,” Tony replied. “The non-canonical texts were all considered canon at one time. There is a plethora of thought and information we can learn from these works. The Gnostic gospels are not entirely synonymous with the lost books. Some of them are Gnostic like the gospel of Thomas which was only excluded because it opens with a seemingly contradictory statement by saying those who understand the words of Jesus will be saved rather than stating it as the official gospels and writings of Paul, which say that it is he who believes that will be saved. There is a similar situation with the Old Testament lost books contained in a book called The Forgotten Books of Eden. What I have gained personally is a new perspective different from what I had formally imagined based on the New Testament movies I have seen and traditional interpretations that portray Jesus as developing into his godhood over time. In these gospels Jesus already possesses all knowledge and power. Another thing I noticed was that everyone was not living in dirt. Civilization was alive and well. Cities with industries and all kinds of shops, i.e., pharmacies, cloth dyeing, etc. I think they were much more technologically adept than we give them credit for.”
Next I questioned Tony about the kind of information and insights we may have recovered from these neglected and/or rejected writings from the ancient past, to which he replied: “The picture of Jesus that unfolds shows Jesus as more fully human and fully divine than I ever imagined. Jesus is shown to be in absolute control even as an infant. His identity is not a secret. At least not in the beginning.”
“He fully embraces and participates in life and seems to have a sense of humor as well. When challenged the response is swift and often harsh by our normal standards. Considering what he could do you could say he is very mild. The fact that he kills several people doesn’t seem like the pacifistic Jesus we are accustomed to. He does restore almost all those he kills. Another intriguing insight is that Jesus had contact with many of the most important people in his life as a child. Some of them included in the story of his childhood are John the Baptist, Simon-Peter, Judas Iscariot and the two thieves between whom he was crucified.”
Then, finally, I asked Tony what he thought of Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. “It think it is an excellent work of fiction,” he responded. “I think Dan Brown’s book is no more offensive than the movies that portray the childhood of Jesus, which are of course made up out of whole cloth and equally fictional. None of the biblical movies I have seen are particularly accurate to the scriptures. Most of the time I find myself thinking they could have done better if they had followed the script. I think God is a better writer than that. A lot of evangelicals claim to be outraged or are just capitalizing on the opportunity to sell books and videos in opposition to The Da Vinci Code. I am glad Dan won the lawsuit against him claiming plagiarism by the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. There is another book called The Jesus Scroll by Donovan Joyce that predates it by a goodly amount that came out in 1964. The Alabaster Box could be considered something of an unintentional rebuttal to The Da Vinci Code.”
If anyone would like to reach Tony Pratt for comment, he can be contacted at: email@example.com
Brad Steiger on The Da Vinci Code phenomenon...
We asked famous UFO/paranormal/metaphysical author Brad Steiger a few questions regarding his own personal thoughts and reflections on The Da Vinci Code phenomenon. Here’s those questions complete with Brad’s answers:
Question No. 1: “Multitudes seem to be wondering whether The Da Vinci Code could be right. Are the collection of writings that comprise the Bible complete and accurate? What about the Book of Enoch, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and others? Did the Council of Nicea, under Constantine, do a good job of it?
Brad Steiger: “My grandmother had a vast personal library, as well as being the town librarian, and she had a copy of the Apocrypha that I read at a very young age. Coming from an evangelical background, this was quite a daring adventure for me. Regardless of any state laws, we had religion class in our public school in our small Iowa town, and the class was required of all students until their freshman year. Because it was essentially Evangelical Lutheran Church teachings, our sole token Roman Catholic was excused.
“When I graduated high school, I attended a Lutheran college where Bible classes were required until the junior year. Being blessed with a diplomatic nature, I managed to question doctrine concerning the Council of Nicea and still get ‘A’s’ in all my Bible classes. Dan Brown errs when he says that the Council was the first time that the Church universally recognized Jesus as God. The epistles of Paul surely refute that allegation. In fact, I am not alone in the opinion that it was Paul who created the Christian Church and converted a sect of apocalyptic Jews from being followers of a prophet who preached reformation into something quite different from the movement their teacher had intended. One of the trick questions in our Lutheran college Bible class was, who founded the Christian Church. While those of us who visited the forbidden sections of the library struggled with not answering, “Paul of Tarsus,” we knew that pass or fail and not incurring the wrath of the pastor teaching the class depended upon our answering, Jesus Christ. I have had a quarrel of many decades with the Council of Nicea. Very many things were dismissed, such as a tolerance toward reincarnation. From the Church’s standpoint of managing future congregations, the Council did a good job. For the future of world peace, love, tolerance, and the abolishment of religious persecutions and religious wars, they did not do such a good job by leaving out the Gnostic gospels.”
Question No. 2: “What might we learn from reading and researching these other uncanonized or so-called Gnostic or “lost books” of the Bible?”
Brad Steiger: “My wife Sherry is an ordained minister, one time staff member at the Lutheran School of Theology, who agonizingly left the pulpit because of her beliefs in the true message of Jesus as being one’s acceptance of personal responsibility for his or her actions, one’s continual vigilance to practice discernment, one’s striving to achieve a contrite heart, and one’s goal of fulfilling the golden rule toward all people. Those are also my beliefs. We have read all of the Gnostic Gospels made available. We have several collections of the Nag Hammadi scrolls as well as the Essenic manuscripts. However vain it may sound, we do try to live our lives ‘in imitation of Jesus” the prophet. Perhaps it is an impossible goal, but as Goethe said, the striving is more important than the goal. We believe that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were quite likely married, and inspite of the beautiful song in Jesus Christ Superstar, she did know how to love him. Sherry and I have a slightly different belief regarding Jesus’ transcendent character, but we both believe that in no way did he claim to be the ‘only son of God.’ In many passages in the gospels, he sternly discourages his disciples from making such an assertion. In my opinion, Paul’s vision on the Road to Damascus transformed a great prophet into a god, as was a rather common practice of the times in which he lived.”
Question No. 3: “Have you any thoughts you’d care to share about Brown’s The Da Vinci Code?
Brad Steiger: “I guess I have to make the same comment that I made when Von Daniken achieved worldwide fame and made a mint out of putting together the previous thoughts of so many researchers and collected them in Chariots of the Gods. ‘He was standing in front of the Cosmic Slot Machine when it paid off.’
“The great revelations that so many discovered in Brown’s book were ‘old hat’ to so many of us and were, indeed, ‘heresies’ that had been around for about 2000 years. Since the Council of Nicea, anyway, and intensified through the ages. Brown, too, was in the enviable position in front of the Cosmic Slot Machine when it paid off. I realize that coming from an author, people can assess my comments as ‘sour grapes.’ There may be some truth to that accusation, but I discovered long ago that to write seriously about these subjects and to specialize in the metaphysical and paranormal fields means, and this is true with all the authors I know personally, one receives enough money to survive, but never any extra, and surely never enough to be considered wealthy (except in spirit).”
The Dreaded 666!
With June 6, 2006 (06/06/06) drawing ever so near (as I write these words on 05/30/06) there seems to be a growing concern among many regarding what they perceive to be an ominous threat associated with that date. Some officials seem concerned that various organizations or groups of people might resort to violent public demonstrations on this date. Naturally, for anyone who knows a smidgeon of Bible theology 666 corresponds to the dreaded mark of the beast referred to in the Book of Revelations (13:16-18). 20th Century Fox has taken advantage of the sinister legend and public hoopla over all of this by their remake of “The Omen” released to theaters on this very date. Recently, according to the Sunday Times of London, expectant mothers were nervously making alternative birthing appointments if their expectant delivery date happened to fall upon the dreaded 06/06/06 date!
People from all economic and social backgrounds may fall under the spell of 666. Reportedly, when the late former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy retired to their last address together in California, they had officials change it from 666 to 668 St. Cloud Road!
Recalling that I had read somewhere of a Biblical research finding that contradicted the powerful 666 archetype with another series of numbers, I hastily embarked upon an Internet search for this bit of information. Soon I found what I was looking for, or at least something that closely resembled it. According to this article/religious commentary I found a certain Professor David Parker of the “New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham” claims that a late third century fragment of the Book of Revelation, written in Greek and found at an ancient dump site in Egypt, indicates that it’s 616 and not 666!
Meanwhile, undaunted by this report, Peter Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan in New York, was quoted saying: “By using 666 we’re using something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616 being the number of the beast then we’ll start using that.”