Item description for The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci by III Ben Witherington & Grover Gardner...
Overview Dan Brown's international best-seller The Da Vinci Code has raised many questions in the minds of readers. Ben Witherington confronts these claims with the sure-footedness of a New Testament scholar, yet in the plain language that any interested reader can follow. He takes us back to the early centuries after Jesus' death and tells us what we really can know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the canonical Gospels and their Gnostic rivals.
Publishers Description Was Jesus really married to Mary Magdalene? // Did he father a child with her? // Did Constantine suppress the earliest Gospels and invent the doctrine of Christ's divinity? // Do the Gnostic Gospels represent the true Christian faith which the early church sought to supplant? // The Da Vinci Code, in blurring the lines between fact and fiction, popularizes the speculations and contentions of numerous more serious books that are also attracting wide attention. How should we respond to claims that we now have documents that reveal secrets about Jesus, secrets long suppressed by the church and other religious institutions? Do these new documents successfully debunk traditional views about Jesus and early Christianity? // Ben Witherington III confronts these claims with the sure-footedness of a New Testament scholar, yet in the plain language that any interested reader can follow. He takes us back to the early centuries after Jesus' death and tells us what we can really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the canonical Gospels and their Gnostic rivals.
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Studio: Hovel Audio
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.4" Width: 6.08" Height: 1.03" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2005
Publisher Hovel Audio
ISBN 1596441488 ISBN13 9781596441484
Availability 0 units.
More About III Ben Witherington & Grover Gardner
Bible scholar Ben Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.
Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. A popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.
Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications.
Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.
Ben Witherington currently resides in the state of Kentucky. Ben Witherington was born in 1951 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Asbury Theological Seminary.
Ben Witherington has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci?
The True Evangelion Aug 2, 2008
Refutation of the general heresy of Gnosticism and claims about Mary Magdalene as the wife of Jesus, specifically in response to the forever-running best seller The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (which I rated 3 stars for its fun but not great suspense).
Witherington does a good job of making the theological points in understandable terms. Gnosticism is salvation based on "special knowledge" that not everyone has or understands, and is thus exclusionary. Witherington shows that the claim by Brown (and others) that orthodox Christianity suppressed and branded heretical all teachings they didn't agree with in politically driven councils in AD300-500 is historically incorrect. He shows that in fact a de facto orthodox canon almost identical to the current New Testament had developed for historical (because churches and apostles knew they were true--novel concept--no conspiracy theory required!) and spiritual reasons by around AD125. And this canon did not include Gnostic gospels, in part because most were written after AD125 and were clearly not primary source materials, in addition to their non-historical subject matter. The councils that later branded Gnostic gospels heretical didn't exclude them from the canon, but merely ratified the canon already accepted by believers everywhere.
History, or records of action, are important to the gospel. Witherington points out that the word "Evangelion" or "Gospel" in common use meant "something that someone--an emperor or benefactor--had done for them, some sort of undeserved by gracious action." (p. 173) The emphasis was on the action, not the words, in contrast to Gnosticism, with its reliance on special knowledge which would allow you to "save yourself." The "Gospel" was the good news of salvation through the action of Jesus!
yet again Dec 23, 2007
Im so tired of dan brown AND his critics...nether side has any original work. I started to read this (it was a loaner)..but sorry, not interested in pop culture studies. I prefer my works to be written by scholars with rigid training and who most importantly, are not trying to sell you something!
but personally on the topic on hand, I do think jesus was intimate with mary and perhaps had a son who witnessed him on the cross (nameless beloved disciple) and the nude youth fleeing Gethsemane at his arrest, and the youth cuddling with him at the last supper etc...is is so wrong that jesus was human as he clearly says he is? is it so hard he offered the key to illumination? this world is a trap, even at that time as well.
It boils down to the history Mar 16, 2007
I am not going to say a lot because in all honesty, I need to finish the book. But there is an important statement here I would like to make. So much boils down to what an individual believes is the history of the church. Ben Witherington the III seems to be of the opinion that the gnostic scriptures do not come until later. This is certainly not my understanding of history. And in order to take this view, this stance, of history one must be somewhat apologetic of the Roman Catholic Church, even if one is a protestant. It is stated in the book something to the effect that Constantine became a Christian and presided in a kindly manner over the council of Nicaea. It is certainly questionable whether Constantine ever was a convert in anything more than name. His only conversion was one of convenience to keep Rome from falling apart. It is my understanding of history, that in presiding over the council, Constantine consistently used the power of the sword whenever his view of what Christianity should be was challenged, and Bishops who opposed his point of view were removed from the council by force, and a revote was taken. Can I prove this? No. Not any more than I think anyone can prove otherwise, but the weight of the actions of the church over a 1000 year reign, I think, proves incontroversably, that the church was not interested in truth, but in control. It is without question, over the next 1000 years of the reign of Rome via the church, that multitudes of individuals who questioned the church in any way were tortured horribly and killed. They were furthermore, tortured and killed even if they recanted and admitted they were in error. I don't think anyone can deny this aspect of history. It is too well documented. So why would the church care about preserving the truth? It is also, without question, that the church over the next thousand years, sought out any documents they considered detrimental to the churches rule, and burned those documents. It has been well established that the church added and deleted text from the supposedly cannonical scriptures. Can anyone therefore, affirm incontrovertibly, that the scriptures that have come down to us are the inerrant words of God regardless? I think this is a very dangerous position to take.
It is also questionable whether the gnostic documents came earlier or later. Throughout history there have been God man saviors who were surrounded by a mythology, so to speak, almost identical to the story of Jesus. Is it still therefore reasonable to believe in a literal and only literal interpretation of the Bible? Why then did Jesus speak in parables? Why was it that even when he interpreted the parables, he claimed that the disciples still did not understand? Even without gnostic texts it becomes apparent that there was a secret doctrine. And when one delves into the secret doctrine, they find they can no longer go back to that literalness, it is no longer of import to them, not because they are ignorant or deceived, but because they now have the "inner light" of gnosis, something Ben Witherington apparently knows nothing about. When one attains a deeper understanding, one realizes unquestionably the futility in believing in a literal god man savior. It, folks, just aint so. But prove it? Each person will have to decide for themselves.
At any rate, if one is of a fundamentalist disposition, one will tend to believe the so called scholars who are also of that persuasion. If not, one is more inclined to believe those scholars that are more critical of the church. There is no proof one way or another that one set of doctrines came earlier than another. To many of us who study these things it appears very strongly that both sets of doctrines were preached at the same time. The more literal set was preached for those who were not ready for the higher mysteries. There is ample evidence in the cannonical gospels themselves that there was a set of doctrine for the masses and another for the elite.
So which version of history do you believe in? It is up to each individual to decide. But I am very unattracted, though I once found refuge in, a literalist church that in one way or another was created and/or strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism. I find it very, very hard to believe in a God whose attitude is that those that don't believe the way he prefers they do should be burned at the stake as heretics. Even as the book of Revelations says, "Mystery Bablyon,(Roman Catholicism) mother of harlots, (protestant churches) and abominations in the earth."
When you wear Rose colored glasses, you tend to see religion, as well as everything else, in a perverted way. Is there a savior outside of ourselves? A deeper understanding of the hidden meanings of the parables and sayings of Jesus, with the alternate and deeper meanings of the Greek and other language words, would indicate there is not. In fact, the gospels begin to sound a lot, and I mean a lot more like a Bhuddist or Taoist text than a god savior manuscript. I will even go further. A deeper understanding shows a text full of meanings that mirror and parallel quantum physics, and the way we can related to the "Divine Matrix," as some would call it.
Nothing more at this time, but I do feel that Ben Witherington, not to critisize, he has written and excellent book, needs to look deeper into the material that he himself presents, unprejudiced by a fundamentalist eye.
dan brown debunked Jan 18, 2007
As I write, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code ranks number one on the New York Times best seller list. My wife read it to our kids, liked it, and passed it on to a friend. My pastor preached a sermon on it. My neighbor asked me what I thought about it. Now a cottage industry of books debunking it has emerged. That is what happens when your book is on the best seller list for 72 weeks and counting.
It is a little more than ironic that Brown's book is on the fiction list, because on his first page he gives the impression that much if not most of what he has written is based in fact. In reference to Darrell Bock's similar book (below), John Miller of the Wall Street Journal concluded that Brown's "central contentions are based on evidence so thin that calling them conjecture would be a compliment." As Witherington and others have shown, The Da Vinci Code is a mishmash of historical errors of fact, oddball interpretations of the sources, and philosophical or theological assumptions that are interesting but unorthodox to say the least. Toss in great writing, a conspiracy theory about church power brokers who did us dirt, and a biblically illiterate reading public that is nevertheless deeply attracted to Jesus, and you have a recipe for a blockbuster book.
Witherington focuses on seven "deadly historical errors of the book." (1) The supposedly suppressed Gnostic Gospels are earlier than the four canonical Gospels. (2) Jesus was a normal human being who was only much later made out to be divine. (3) The emperor Constantine suppressed the Gnostic gospels and imposed Christian orthodoxy on the masses. (4) Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. (5) As an early Jew Jesus must have been married. (6) The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi documents are our earliest Christian documents (Witherington: "so false it's what the British would call a howler."). (7) Various philosophical and theological presuppositions. For a shorter version of Witherington's material see his article in Christianity Today (June 2004), "Why the Lost Gospels Lost Out." Other book-length treatments include Darrell Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code, James Garlow and Peter Jones, Cracking Da Vinci's Code, and about a dozen similar titles.
Excellent Overview of the Issues Aug 15, 2006
Very enjoyable and informative book, with a lot of personality and background. This is a great overview of the issues surrounding the authenticity of the Bible and the challenges leveled by Gnostic thought. My only desire was for more elaboration on the Gnostic writings, and a more complete examination of Cannonization. However, these issues are probably beyond the scope of a quick read.