on May 23, 2006
Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel should have called this book "the davinci AXE" because thats what it did to the davinci code. Every single chapter and section of this book just chopped away at Dan Brown's dubious and uneducated claims.
The research that was done in this book is incredible. It's accurate and real as compared to Brown's so called research.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth about early Christianity and a very clear picture about the Catholic Church. God Bless the authors :):):)
on June 25, 2004
Up till now, I thought Darrell Bock's Breaking the Da Vinci Code was the best book on exposing the errors of Dan Brown's multi-million selling foolishness. This new book is slightly better, primarily because it's more comprehensive.
For one thing, it extensively quotes not only the main characters in Brown's book as they relate their version of "history," it also has quite a few quotes from the author himself from various interviews. These quotes are then examined for accuracy in relation to a wide variety of expert opinion. In every case, the quotes Brown has his characters utter, as well as his own quotes, are shown to be either simply false or the opinions of a tiny minority of authors whose views have been found wanting at the bar of history and scholarship. This book, which is about twice as long as Bock's book (which is limited pretty much to the time before Constantine and the Council of Nicea), also covers a good deal more ground. Topics addressed include Holy Grail myths, the real Templars, the Priory of Sion silliness, and errors in interpreting not only Leonardo's Last Supper but his take on art, the occult, and Christianity in general.
If you think The Da Vinci Code--the foundations of which are a synthesis of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Templar Revelation, The Chalice and the Blade, Drawing Down the Moon, and the works of Margaret Starbird and other marginalized and/or discredited books--accurately depicts what really went on in Western history (which no serious person does who has any familiarity with the available materials), then you will not like any of the books debunking Dan Brown's ridiculous book, least of all this one. But if you want to find out what really happened, this gives as complete an accounting as you'll find anywhere.
In sum, this critique is extensive, even exhaustive, and in the end entirely persuasive.
on June 29, 2004
A reviewer on this list advises us to grow up and get a life rather than read a book debunking the hoax perpetrated by Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code.' He suggests that wild story telling is the nature of fiction or even, one has to assume, historical fiction, in which a story is told within the context of real events with cameos by historical figures. This suggestion is, of course, just silly.
If a writer is writing historical fiction and tells his readers in story, say, that George Washington was a serial rapist and slave butcher - and that book sells a kazillion copies and is made into a movie, this reviewer would have us believe those books written to tell us the facts about Washington are all 'exploitation' silliness and unnecessary. Isn't it the writer of such fiction, who turns history on its head to advance a political or anti-religious agenda, the real exploiter? 'The Da Vinci Hoax,' by telling us the facts and correcting the absurd assertions and irresponsible errors of 'The Da Vinci Code,' will help, one hopes, to prevent Dan Brown's anti-clerical diatribe and exploitation of people's interest in the historical Jesus from becoming the popular understanding of Christian history. I say "one hopes" not because of any deficiency in this book; its scholarship and care in refuting the innuendo and outright nonsense of 'Code' is as comprehensive a treatment as will ever be published, I expect, and the authors are to be commended for their sobriety and their never descending to Brown's level. My doubts about its efficacy in correcting the growing popular idea, consequent to the 'Code,' that Jesus of Nazareth lived on after his crucifixion are only due to the greater reach of sensational fiction and a movie as compared to a non-fiction book, however well written and documented.
Anyone who has read 'The Da Vinci Code' will be well served by reading the antidote in 'Hoax' to Brown's slow-acting poison. I will be giving copies to friends enamored of its hip take on history and flip attitude toward Catholicism and Christianity in general. Brown writes from a sneering, condescending attitude toward the Catholic Church with a disdainful disregard for established truths of historical events and personages, art history, and theology which I find remarkable even in our times (I am not a Roman Catholic, incidentally). Miesel and Olson charitably and painstakingly present the facts and bring the errors and omissions to light. In doing so, they do serious readers and the culture at large a great service. Three cheers!
I read The DaVinci Code. I also read formula romances published by Harlequin. Frankly, the romances are better written. If it was not so anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, 'The Da Vinci Code' would be a rather hokey thriller. (I mean, what do you call a novel where almost all the protagonist does is run from point to point and lecture a dumb brunette who is supposed to be intelligent. In a believable tale, she should have heard all that stuff from her grandpere. No reason for him to hide her roots from her. In fact, every reason to tell her, so she can protect herself from the 'bad guys'. She just laps up all Langdon and Teabing tells her, no questions, no arguments.)
If The Da Vinci Code's author did not tout it as fact-based, and if it was not so anti-biblical and so full of historical errors about Leonardo DaVinci, there would be no need to debunk it.
This book does it well. Its authors present what Brown and his characters say and what his sources say. They rebutt that with what their authorities say. Bibliographic info pro and con, so I could find and read those sources to learn and make up my mind. I appreciated that, (It's more than Prof. Teabing gave Sophie. He made pronouncements, but did not pull out a book to back them up - unless it was "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", which was discredited history before "The DaVinci Code" was published. And the authors are right that Teabing does not quote the othodox New Testament, even to debunk it.)
The authors used clear language which did not 'talk down' but also did not talk 'academic'.
I confess I would have preferred the authors's bias to have been more for Christianity as a whole and less for the Roman Catholic Church. I'm Protestant. We have differences about what the Scriptures say. I'm not sure if Orphus Dei is a good organization or a cult. Still, when Christianity gets knocked about, the Catholics get more hard knocks (as it certainly gets from Dan Brown's book. Mulatto monk on the rampage! And one with such a low IQ.), so I can understand the authors fighting for their own house over that of the extended family.
on July 15, 2004
I have to admit that the primary reason I gave in to all my friends' entreaties and broke down and read Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" was so that I could understand the body of literature that has grown up to "correct" the "errors" in Brown's book.
Olsen and Miesel make their perspective on Brown's book very clear early on. To say that they don't like Brown's book is an understatement. They perceive Brown's book as a threat to their belief system, an anti-intellectual and especially paranoid brand of Catholicism, that threatens to tear the entire Christian world apart. Early on they dismiss Brown's novel as a crudely written romance novel. This characterization does not, however, dissuade them from spending the better part of 300 pages in paperback exposing historical inaccuracies in Brown's novel.
Now I have to give Olsen and Miesel some credit. Their work is well written and well researched. Having read Brown, Olsen and Miesel fill in some details about the early Church that Brown, by necessity, glosses over. But their biggest flaw is that they fail to articulate how the "errors" they claim to "expose" in Brown's novel threaten Christianity. For example, they point out -- correctly, to the best of my recollection -- that the Gnostic Gospels were actually written and shortly thereafter rejected from the New Testament canon about a hundred years after Brown claims they were. To Olsen and Miesel, this hundred-year mistake destroys Brown's novel entirely.
Olsen and Miesel make too much out of this claim. The date the Gnostic Gospels were written is irrelevant to the role they play in propelling the plot of Brown's novel. To properly undermine the role of the Gnostic Gospels in Brown's book, Olsen and Miesel would have to undermine the validity of archaeology itself, which they make no attempt to do. (They are, however, openly suspicious of archaeology, because it does not reinforce their particular spirituality.)
I enjoyed reading "The Da Vinci Hoax." The historical details they add to Brown's novel flesh it out and further illuminate the feminine reading of the Grail legend that forms the backdrop to Brown's novel. But I wish that I didn't have to sift through Olsen's and Miesel's paranoia and scurrilous hatred for anything that doesn't fit their narrow-minded conception of Catholicism in order to discover it.
on July 8, 2004
Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel have finally written exactly what I was looking for in terms of detailed de-bunking of the Da Vinci Code and its underlying heresy. Two examples are:
1: They use texts from the Early Church fathers to show the falsities of the Gnostic heresy that tried to worm its way into Christianity in the first couple centuries. Gnosticism has seen a resurgence in recent years due to the New Age movement and the onset of relativism.
2: Linking it to the now disproved manuscript that was the basis for the book "Holy Blood and Holy Grail" and other books it spawned. In addition, Olson and Miesel really show the anti-Catholic and anti-Christianity mindset of these authors.
The only thing I can say is this has to be only a starting point. Neo-Gnosticism is one of the most dangerous threats to society today. It makes anything you believe as true. This means all historical societal norms are no longer valid if a person believes them not to be true.
on July 16, 2004
This book had an incredible amount of detail that provided me with more background on the historical points of Dan Brown's book. However, the thing that I found incredibly disguisting was how prejudiced the authors themselves were of anything that put their vision of Catholicism in a bad light. I hope that one day someone writes an entirely neutral and factual book on the so-called "errors" of Dan Brown's novel. I could not bear to finish this book because I knew that the rest would be just as opinionated as the several chapters I did read.
on July 6, 2004
I read the Da Vinci Code after someone insisted that I read it, and eventually bugged me for long enough that I finally did. At the point where it first introduced the concept of Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married and having a child, I scoffed. I had read the Gnostic gospels prior to the Code, and knew how laughably false they were. Documents such as a child Jesus misbehaving and using his supernatural powers on other children I found humorous, and an account where it tells how about God raped Eve in the garden of Eden I found strange. Jesus, to the Gnostic gospels, was a light power above the god of the Old Testament, who, according to these writings, never suffered the death on the cross. While Brown's novel prodes the reader toward the Gnostic gospels, he leaves out most of the absurdities such as the ones previously mentioned, doesn't state that they were probably made up because the author chose very important people like Mary Magdalene and apostles to attribute their authorship to, unlike the "nobodies" like Mark who wrote the New Testament gospels. It would've been okay if Brown stated "the contents are purely fictional and a 'What if' scenario" but he presents it as the truth, and the Da Vinci Hoax intelligently judges his research and counters it. I recommend this book to anyone who reacts "Oh my God, Jesus had a child, yeah, go females, we are the true gods, worship the goddess!" Sadly, that is how most react to the Da Vinci Code. Also, the Da Vinci Code takes the attitude, "If it has to do with religion, it's okay" while portraying the ritual sex as harmless. I bet Brown would condone using dangerous drugs to experience a spiritual effect as well. Please, if you know anyone who is convinced the Da Vinci Code is as completely true, buy them this book.
on July 6, 2004
I've read quite a few books of the Holy Blood, Holy Grail (HBHG) genre over the last two decades, and generally enjoyed them -- not as history, but as a fun, pseudo-historical modern mythos. I enjoyed that aspect of The Da Vinci Code (DVC) as well, (although the book had flimsy caricatures in place of characters, logical errors and a weak story). However, with his great success and his absurd insistence that the HBHG background material is factual, Dan Brown has popularized the HBHG bunk as real history, and done so on a huge scale. So when DVC generated a shelf-load of rebuttals, I was interested in them too. The Da Vinci Hoax appears to be the best of the lot.
There are several areas of HBHG lore with which I have more than a little familiarity, so I use those as checkpoints. In those areas, Olson and Miesel cite good sources and say all the right things. Having now checked some of their sources with which I wasn't previously familiar, they too seem reliable. My only criticism is that a few of the early discussions in their book have some Christian apologetics thrown in. It is certainly understandable that many of the people motivated to debunk HBHG and related anti-Catholic materials (like DVC) are themselves devout Christians, as are many who would purchase such debunking books. However, such pro-Christian side arguments tend to obscure main issue, the historical problems with the HBHG lore, making it seem as if the debate were between committed Christians and neo-Gnostic Magdalene-bloodline true believers. However, that is a minor criticism directed to only a few passages, (as opposed to some of the other DVC debunking books, which are swamped by Christian apologetics).
Despite the number of other DVC rebuttals on the shelves, this book was very much needed. It provides a serious and documented analysis of all the main historical points of Brown's misleading bestseller, with useful and reliable references.
on July 2, 2004
To those that had (or "are having") the courage to peruse Dan Brown's not very original, just better-looking exploit of yet another anti-christian hipe, Olson and Miesel's work is a much-needed remedy.
One could deny the urgent usefulness of this book by simply claiming that Brown's now-debunked best-seller is fiction, and as such should not be taken seriously. That would be right, had the author not flaunted the Code's solid scholarly origins, presented it behind a "historical fiction" identity, and then just got on with the so-called "facts" (a low blow, if you ask).
And although it is true that, among the most enthusiastic readers of the Da Vinci Code, rare would be the souls willing to separate the "fiction" element from Brown's veiled attempt at selling an "objective research" on christian history, still Olson's book must exist and offer an answer to any person open enough as to give the other side a chance to speak. Any such person would see, after reading 'The Da Vinci Hoax', that Dan Brown almost - almost - got them.
The Da Vinci Hoax is a much-needed, thorough, and welcome piece of work.