Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Da Vinci Code

I know I'm waaaaay behind, embarrasingly so even... but I FINALLY got around to reading The Da Vinci Code while I was away, having seen every other person read it in various versions and languages on the beach on my last break... and the one before that, to the point where I felt a bit left out. What was this novel that had everyone so gripped? I had to get my hands on it ASAP. I finished it last week it and now I'm OBSESSED!!

I want to visit all the locations in the novel. Some I've seen before as a teenager, but I need to see again them with different eyes.. knowing what I know now.

Even though the allegations in the book have since been refuted as just fiction, I was still gripped by the alleged extreme measures taken by the Church to suppress the true of origins of Christianity, and how it allegedly conspired to increase its grip on power and keep Christians subjugated to its authority by keeping these secrets for centuries. It got me thinking about the possibility of parallels with today's version of Islam, which I always suspected has been distorted from its true origins beyond recognition even though I have no real knowledge about this. It's just a nagging feeling..

Another thing... how come the Vatican didn't issue a "fatwa" calling for Dan Brown's death?

13 comments:

  1. zaydoun....read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown too, another excellent book! I liked it better than The Da Vinci Code. But dont bother with the rest of his books at all!

    You think if I go to arth alma3arith, ill find it? ;P

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  2. I believe that it has inspired many people to travel to Europe to see the artwork and architecture that the characters see in the novel and there are now many guided tours that you can go on in London, Scotland, Paris and Rome.I imagine that the number of visitors to the Louvre Museum in Paris has risen too. The French are reported to be a bit nonplussed though when they find out that the hordes of visitors are coming to France because of a book and not the love of the country!

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  3. Zaydoun a couple of books you might want to look at while the interest in the subject is still feverish, are "The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels..who did her PHD at Harvard on the Gnostic Gospels, the hidden gospels never included in the bible..the ones found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945.
    And also 'The Jesus Mysteries' and 'Jesus and the Goddess' by Freke and Gandy..they are quick reads and they make you wonder about a lot of things..they have a tiny bit about Islam at the end of the second book..
    enjoy..
    I agree with Q about Angels and Demons, it is much more of a 'fun' read..although in both books his style is very amateurish, but it's entertaining stuff anyway.
    And yes there have been swarms of people fanning across all the sites mentioned in the book, with a copy in their hands to make sure they don't miss anything..He has sparked a tourist frenzy.
    Oh also on his site you can take a look at some of the things he mentions in the books..he has pictures of the artwork and the sites..danbrown.com (notice in his own pic he is dressed like his character..poor guy..he always starts the books telling you how sexy and smart Langdon is..)

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  4. Mr. Zaydoun,

    welcome to the Dan Brown club! You should read Angels & Demons (his only other Robert Langdon novel so far - personally I find "Da Vinci" to be his most mature novel thus far - perhaps because of the many scientific slips in A&D and his other two novels.

    Actually, its a bit hasty to jump to the conclusion that the book has been refuted as fiction, and you may wish to read the novels main reference: "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", which I initially read way back in the 1980s, and forgot all about it until last year when "Da Vinci" came out - that book has pictures of the alleged descendants of Jesus.

    But after all, what do we REALLY know about Jesus? Aside from the gospels, what historical background we have has next to nothing about him. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many have hypothesized that historically Jesus was a member of a cult similar to the one in Qumran, where the scrolls were discovered. As it stands, no solid proof Jesus is anything more other than a myth.

    Also, you might be interested in the - albeit speculative - books by Ahmad Othman, in which he traces biblical figures to Egyptian pharaohs: Moses was Akhnaton, and Joseph was an Egyptian nobleman who was Akhnatons maternal grandfather - if I recall the book correctly. His most speculative book deals with the idea that Jesus never lived: his story in the gospels was inspired by the story of Tot ankh Amon - some 14 centuries before the beginning of the Christian era, and the linking myth was triggered by the death of John the Baptist.

    You might also be interested in the roots of Judaism from the historical perspective, and I suggest "The Bible Unearthed" - Israel Finkelstein & Neil Silberman. The authors look back at the stories narrated in the Old Testament, and they dismiss them as mere myths: no historical proof that the Exodus ever took place, no proof for the Israelite conquest of the land of Cannan, no proof for the unified monarchy of David & Solomon, ... etc.

    As for the possibility that the same type of studies can take place to answer the historical background for the emergence of Islam, now this is a VERY tricky perspective! I can't even begin to speculate how much of Islams early days is based on historical research vs. narratives found in a7adeeth. As far as I know, the first biography detailing the Life of Muhammad was Ibn Katheers.

    All in all, IMHO, not an easy subject to tackle in our societies and time.

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  5. Mr.Zaydoun,
    I loved the book too. I also suggest strongly reading the Rule of Four. It is also a great book that was written by 2 princeton University Graudates who studied the renaissance. It revolves around a mysterious renaissance book called the "HYPNEROTOMACHIA POLIPHILI" written in 1499. With its unpronounceable title, indecipherable text, and unidentifiable author, is one of the most puzzling, enigmatic and fascinating books ever written.

    The book is a great read. You really get into the story and learn so much at the same time.

    For more info about the book

    http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/theruleoffour/index2.html

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  6. Wow.. I always suspected my fellow bloggers were a highly literate bunch, but this is great!!

    Thanks for all the information. I couldn't find Angels & Demons while I was away. Do they have it here at Virgin? Dumb question? Stranger things have happened!

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  7. I must agree with the above comments that Angels and Demons is a fascinating read, as well. One of the 'bad guys' is a rather poor stereotype of Arabs, though, which amused me to no ends! I recall seeing a bunch of Brown's books in Virgin's, although I wouldn't recommend the rest of them. Dan Brown's main fault lies in his simplistic style, and terrible repetition of themes and plot. It's like he follows a blueprint!

    The Vatican's reaction to his books hasn't been flattering, though. The Da Vinci Code had been banned in Lebanon, of all places, for religious reasons.

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  8. I did notice that his style was a bit amateurish. Every chapter was written like a scene from a series or movie, complete with cliffhanger ending. If ever a movie is made they'll have the screenplay all cut out and ready for them!

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  9. ooh Ahmed Othman (or Osman as i've seen it spelled sometimes) fun reads..I started with Moses King of Egypt (which is also called Moses Pharoah of Egypt) he links Moses and Akhenaten as one person..everything is theory and this is an interesting one..
    When you read angels and demons you will notice it starts just like the davinci code..he does write like he took a summer writing workshop and he was given a formula and that's what he sticks to..

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  10. Mr. Zaydoun,

    I have the paperback edition of "Angels & Demons", and I'd be more than happy to send it to you. If you are interested send me an email.

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  11. kwtia,

    Ahh, yes, its "Ahmed Osman", I forgot how he spells his name in English. Here are links to his books available in Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1591430275/qid=1101399813/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/104-3145891-7728713?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1591430224/qid=1101399813/sr=8-2/ref=pd_csp_2/104-3145891-7728713?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1591430046/qid=1101399813/sr=8-3/ref=pd_csp_3/104-3145891-7728713?v=glance&s=books&n=507846


    Of a rather more fanciful nature were the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky - who was famous for proposing an outrageously silly theory for the Exodus that involved the planet Venus emerging from the planet Jupiter?!! One of his books was entitled "Oedipus and Akhnaton", in which he speculated that the greek story of Oedipus was inspired by the life of Akhnaton. A very speculative - and silly - theory, but it inspired Philip Glass - my favorite contemporary composer - to compose the opera "Akhnaten".

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