Item description for De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code by Amy Welborn...
Overview Amy Welborn addresses the misrepresentation of history, religion, and art in The Da Vinci Code. Did Leonardo actually build these "codes" into his paintings? *Was the Priory of Sion a real organization? *Is the Holy Grail really, as he says, Mary Magdalen's womb and now her bones, and not the Last Supper cup? *Is Opus Dei really what The Da Vinci Code says is it? *What was Constantine's true role in early Christianity? *Was Jesus human or divine or both? *Was he married to Mary Magdalene? *Do secret writings not in the Bible really contain truths about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the "sacred feminine"? De-Coding Da Vinci is complete with discussion questions in every chapter. It is a perfect tool to become well-versed in the important issues raised by The Da Vinci Code.
Publishers Description The best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code has raised intriguing questions for both Christians and non-Christians alike. Readers of the novel are wondering if what the author says is really true: Could everything they've learned about the origins of Christianity really be false? What is the truth about Jesus' life and ministry? Was He married to Mary Magdalene? Do secret writings not in the Bible really contain the truth about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the "sacred feminine"? Did the Emperor Constantine invent modern Christianity? Is the Priory of Sion a real organization? What is the Holy Grail? Does Leonardo da Vinci's art really have secret codes about Jesus and Mary Magdalene embedded within? Read the fascinating truths that debunk the myths found in The Da Vinci Code
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Amy Welborn is a well-known, popular freelance writer. She is the author of many books on prayer, the saints and apologetics. Amy lives with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.
In the author's own words...
I was born in 1960, an only child then and now. My father,a political scientist, passed away in October 2011. My mother, deceased since 2001, was a teacher, librarian and artist. The Catholicism comes from her side.
I grew up in a number of places - Indiana - Washington, DC - Lubbock Texas - Arlington, Virginia - DeKalb, Illinois - Lawrence, Kansas - and Knoxville, Tennessee, where we settled in 1973. I attended Knoxville Catholic High School, then the University of Tennessee where I majored in history. I received an MA in Church History from Vanderbilt University, where I wrote a thesis on the changing role of women in 19th century American Protestantism, and the ways Scripture was used to justify those changes.
I have worked as a teacher in Catholic high schools, and a Parish Director of Religious Education. I started writing for the diocesan press - the Florida Catholic - in 1988. I've written columns for Our Sunday Visitor and Catholic News Service as well at times over the past twenty years. I've been writing full time since 1999. My articles have been published in venues ranging from Our Sunday Visitor to the New York Times to Commonweal. I've written nineteen books and many pamphlets and study guides. I am a regular contributor to the Living Faith and Living Faith for Kids devotionals.
I have five children, ranging in age from 29 to 7.
For 8 1/2 happy years beginning in 2000, I was married to Michael Dubruiel, who had worked as an editor for Our Sunday Visitor for nine years, but in the summer of 2008 changed jobs to serve as Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.
On February 3, 2009, Michael died while running on the treadmill at the gym. My new book,Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope, is a memoir of those first few months, which included a sort of crazy decision to travel to Sicily.
Amy Welborn currently resides in Fort Wayne, in the state of Indiana. Amy Welborn was born in 1960.
Amy Welborn has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code?
re: amy's blog - oh the irony Jul 12, 2008
I just had to comment (her comments are disabled) on the "dialogue" post on how we shouldn't consider the DVC serious dialogue. Funny thing is I just read it as a light read but she is actually the one who has spent years seriously discussing and writing a book about it!!!! Don't mean it in a bad way, but it's pretty ironic!
"Author" is not spelled "Angry Crusader Who Doesn't Read Too Carefully" Jul 9, 2006
The only part of this book worth listening to is Welborn's advice on the final page to not trust an author with an agenda. Honestly, if there's anyone who's qualified to delve into the more shrouded realms of history, it is not someone as emotionally driven as someone who writes "Up to this point, we've tried really hard to maintain a measured, objective tone in our treatment, but right here the limit has been reached, and we cannot go on" (p.31).
This book viciously attacks the DaVinci Code, using sarcasm, technicalities, and flimsy "gotcha" games to debunk the claims made therein. "Brown says that the Nag Hammadi texts were on 'scrolls'-they most certainly were not. They were codices, an early form of book" (p.27) she tells us. Golly, Ms Welborn, for someone defending the literal translation of a book that claims that the world was created in two distinctly different ways (Genesis 1, 2), you sure are a stickler for semantics.
Also, we pretty much have to take Welborn's word on everything. Very few of her facts are backed up with sources cited, an error that would get any high schooler a C- on their essay. The only book that ever gets an in-text citation is the Bible, and simple logic does not allow someone to use any one source to affirm said source's credibility. No matter what she says, some facts remain unarguable and very telling: the work "pagan" used to simply mean "native", and the pentagram was not a symbol of devil worship. Speaking as somebody who has studied with Jesuit priests I find some of her claims highly dubious or naive, and though I can not empirically claim that many of her accounts are false I daresay she does a poor job of coming off any more credible than the book she condemns.
Frankly, I wonder just how familiar Welborn is with the novel, or even the Bible, for that matter. The way she talks sometimes suggests that Dan Brown was saying, "Jesus ate babies and the pope wants to kill you!" Welborn would do well to remember who the real villain turned out to be in the novel, not to mention the positive things that Brown actually said about the church. "Think about it," Welborn tells us, "If Jesus were nothing more than the gentle teacher of Brown's account, why would any authority bother to execute him?... [Christians] were punished because... they worshiped a God, embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, allegiance to whom prohibited them from honoring Caesar as lord or god" (p.122). Firstly, where in the novel does Brown make the claim that Jesus was not what Christians believe him to be? And second, Jesus was crucified because people were claiming that he was going to lead the Jews in overthrowing their Roman rulers! It's in the friggin' Bible! If you didn't know that, then you have no business calling yourself Christian.
Maybe Brown doesn't have all the facts about what really happened, and maybe Welborn is completely wrong. I don't know, but I'll tell you this: only one of them backed up his work with sources, and only one of them was writing in an angry, defensive frame of mind.
The Hassidic Code Jul 6, 2006
Suppose Dan Brown had written a "fictional thriller" entitled "The Hassidic Code". In this fictional novel, suppose Dan Brown wrote about the biggest secret in all history: the "fact" that the Holocaust was faked. Suppose Dan Brown wrote about how rich and powerful Jews actually fabricated the entire Holocaust (phony newsreel footage and all) in order to garner global sympathy, and thereby inoculate themselves from criticism as they systematically took over the financial institutions of the world. Just suppose he had written that "fictional thriller".
How do you think the liberal press would react to that book? Do you think Ron Howard would have been vying for the rights to make the movie version? Do you think Tom Hanks would have gone for the leading role? Do you think Dan Brown would have been invited as honored guest onto the talk show circuit? Do you think that folks like the negative reviewers here would have been insisting that Jews have no right to be offended by such a book?
Get real. Anti-Catholicism is obviously the last socially acceptable form of bigotry in America. The proof is that these anti Catholic bigots don't even know they're bigots.
The "It's just a book" defense of Da Vinci May 20, 2006
A reviewer below bashes this book and others like it because it sets out to debunk Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code", which is "just a fiction book!" afterall.
This is an obvious and convenient counter-attack that Dan Brown acolytes are prone to use. Somehow, the fact that "The Da Vinci" code is "just a work of fiction" innoculates it from any questions as to the veracity of the "facts" the novel is supposedly based on.
Well that just doesn't wash - the first page of the novel itself has a page labelled "FACTS", where it lists several things in that category as if they are iron-clad truth, among them the "Priory of Sion" nonsense. This "FACT" page is supposed to set us up for the rest of the book, which is supposed to be a fictional story BASED ON these "FACTS".
Furthermore, Dan Brown himself has claimed in interviews that the Langdon story is, of course, fictional, but that the conspiracy dribble he's looking into in the book are real. They are "FACTS".
It's certainly not fair to try and push your book as being "about facts" and then turn around when criticized and cry out "but it's just a fiction thriller! What's your problem!" That's trying to have your cake and eat it, too.
If the book and its author are telling us that the fictional story is supposed to be hung on a framework of "facts", and these supposed "facts" also attack an entire religion, I think a debate about those "facts" is certainly in order, don't you?
The question shouldn't be "why does the Church care so much about a fiction book?" Instead, it should be, "Why do Dan Brown acolytes find it so threatening that the instution his book attacks with supposed "facts" is now turning the tables and offering a rebuttal?"
What's wrong with pointing out the "facts" in Brown's book are really not supported by actual history?
Does the Church not have a right to defend itself against such smears propagated as "facts" by the book and its author? Is what's good for the goose not good for the gander? Is it okay for an author to snipe at the Church with the "truth" of this story but then run for the cover of "it's just a book!" as soon as the Church hits back?
And finally, if these responses by those who are skeptics of Brown's book help us get closer to the actual TRUTH of the matter, isn't that a GOOD thing?
Reducing the Code to Ashes May 16, 2006
The media frenzy over Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code is certainly far greater than is warranted. A mediocre though sometimes entertaining whodunit, the suspense is largely based around an alleged conspiracy hatched by the Catholic Church to suppress the true message of Christianity - a charge that Brown says is actually true. It is the conspiracy theory and its claims of an alternate Christian story that fuels the popularity of the book among those who wish Jesus were someone other that who He is.
Although many writers have taken on Brown's assertions, most have been from the Evangelical wing of Christianity and their understanding of the early Church, though not as ridiculous as Brown's own, is based on the erroneous assumption that early Christianity paralleled contemporary Evangelicalism. Missing is an understanding of the faith centered on the liturgical life of the Church.
In De-coding Da Vinci, Catholic author Amy Wellborn brings a richer understanding of patristic thought than what is put forth in almost all books dealing with Brown's novel. Wellborn, who is best known for her blog Open Book, is an excellent writer with a gift for getting to the heart of the matter at hand. As she develops her response to Brown's claims, the theories underlying his assertions are methodically destroyed and a true understanding of the Church put in its place. Even in discussions covering technical issues, her flair for prose makes an easy read that is entertaining as well as illuminating.
In successive chapters, Wellborn covers Gnosticism, the development of the Scriptural Canon, the Council of Nicea, the life of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the "sacred feminine", mystery religions, Leonardo Da Vinci, the Holy Grail, and Brown's anti-Catholicism. As she exposes his charges to the light of the historical record, the absurdities become crystal clear. At times, his ineptness is so severe that Wellborn can't help but make jokes at his expense. When it is over, the historical charges made in The Da Vinci Code are reduced to ashes.
The wide popularity of The Da Vinci Code has necessitated a response. Few of these responses have combined historical knowledge, literary style, and a love for the truth to the degree found in De-coding Da Vinci. For those wishing to cut through the hype generated by the media and clearly understand the issues raised, it is essential reading.