Unless you have being living under a rock for the past few years you have heard about Dan Browns book 'The Da Vinci Code'. It is certainly a work that people have strong thoughts about. There are no shades of grey, you either love it, or you hate it.
The Catholic church has certainly come out on the 'hating it' side. That's a shame really, because it is just a work of fiction that interjects certain bits of historical fact. That in my opinion is not grounds for excommunication! Although I do seem to recall that the Catholic church did such a thing to ...... For his outrageous idea that the world was a sphere. It was not till 197? That they actually admitted their mistake in this.
Dan Brown, is not the first author to tread the somewhat slippery path, but he certainly is the most famous. Two other books spring to mind.
Irving Wallace wrote a book titled "The Word", the concept behind this novel was the discovery of a new gospel, the contents of which were at odds with the accepted bible. It was a great book, I can recommend it.
Steve Templeton also played with the traditional rules in his book "Act of God", in this story Jesus's bones are found, this makes the whole Gethsemene story incorrect!
Neither Wallace, nor Templeton faced the wrath of the church like Dan Brown has. There is a quote from Shakespeare that springs to mind "She doth protest too much". It is ok to not like things, there are many things I do not like. My approach to bad things, is to avoid it.
The church on the other hand has made a huge deal out of an accepted work of fiction. All they have really done is increase the sales of the book.
Both Wallace and Templeton wove their novel around historical facts, and yet they escaped unscathed. Why should the church unleash their wrath on Dan Brown?
Well the simple answer would be the conspiracy theory, Dan has it right! I must admit that even I (a devout fence sitter) find that unlikely.
I suspect that the real reason is somewhat deeper. Dan Brown is a very good writer, his tale is well crafted, his use of existing props makes it so much more irresistible. His choice of enemy in Opus Dei is priceless. This little known organization, while not secret, certainly prefers a low profile.
The use of Da Vinci's paintings is beyond creativity. I will be the first to agree that in "The Last Supper" the person on Jesus's right hand looks female. This is a subject that has been argued over for many decades, is it Mary Magdalene, or is it John?
In fact all of the subjects talked about in the book are old and well known. Maybe it is just that he has brought them all together that has the churches knickers in a knot?
Anyway, my take is, it's a good read, it's a fun book, go for it! (and piss your local religious leader off by asking about Da Vinci's last supper, and why the Gnostic gospels are not part of the bible).