Welcome!

Breaking the Da Vinci Code

Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking
Paperback
$14.99


Description

Many who have read the New York Times bestseller The Da Vinci Code have questions that arise from seven codes-expressed or implied-in Dan Brown's book. In Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, Darrell Bock, Ph.D., responds to the novelist's claims using central ancient texts and answers the following questions:

  • Who was Mary Magdalene?
  • Was Jesus Married?
  • Would Jesus Being Single be Un-Jewish?
  • Do the So-Called Secret Gnostic Gospels Help Us Understand Jesus?
  • What Is the Remaining Relevance of The Da Vinci Code?

Darrell Bock's research uncovers the origins of these codes by focusing on the 325 years immediately following the birth of Christ, for the claims of The Da Vinci Code rise or fall on the basis of things emerging from this period. Breaking the Da Vinci Code, now available in trade paper, distinguishes fictitious entertainment from historical elements of the Christian faith. For by seeing these differences, one can break the Da Vinci code.

Reading Guides

Study Questions for

BREAKING THE DA VINCI CODE
Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking

by Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D.
Research Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary

CODE 1

1. What is Sang Real (or Sangreal)? (pp. 13-14)

2. Explain the supposed genealogical "secret" of da Vinci's painting The Last Supper. (p. 14)

3. How many different "Marys" are there in the New Testament? Who are they? (p. 15)

4. When women are mentioned in the Bible they are frequently linked with male relatives. Why? Mary Magdalene is not connected to a specific male, so what specifically distinguishes her from the other women of the same name? (pp. 15-16)

5. According to Luke 8:1-3, who is Mary Magdalene? (p. 16)

6. (True or False) There is no evidence to suggest that Mary Magdalene was present at the crucifixion. What evidence supports your answer? (pp. 16-17)

7. Is there any evidence that states that Mary Magdalene was a witness to the Resurrection? If so, what? (pp. 17-18)

8. What is the most dramatic encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the Gospels? What makes this exchange so unusual? (p. 18)

9. What does the word apostle mean? Was Mary Magdalene an apostle? If so, then how was she different from the twelve apostles? (pp. 18-19)

10. The Bible states that Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus, but does it also state that she was a relative? (p. 19)

11. What is a "church father"? Which church father refers to Mary Magdalene as an apostle? Where does this reference appear? What is meant by the title "apostle to the apostles"? When did the expression surface? (pp. 19-20)

12. How does the Gospel of Philip portray Jesus' relationship to Mary Magdalene? Does the level of intimacy expressed here necessarily suggest a sexual relationship? (pp. 21-22)

13. What writing suggests that Mary received special revelation from Jesus? Why is Peter upset with Mary in this work? Does this work lend credibility to the argument that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married? Why or why not? (pp. 24-26)

14. Explain how the veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, decreases the likelihood of a marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. (pp. 26-27)

15. Does the Scripture affirm that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute? Is there a relationship between Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman of Luke 7:36-50? Is there a relationship between Mary Magdalene and the woman of John 12:1-8? (pp. 28-29)

CODE 2

1. One of the primary arguments of The Da Vinci Code is that the marriage of Jesus was hidden for centuries because the church feared that it would undermine his claims to divinity. Is this true? Why or why not? (p. 33)

2. What are four major arguments that are used to support the belief that Jesus was married? (pp. 34, 37-38)

3. What text states that Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus? Does this necessarily point to a marriage with Jesus? Why or why not? (p. 34)

4. Do the Gospel of Philip and Gospel of Mary state that Jesus was married? Bock argues that there is "an irony in the use of such extrabiblical texts." What does he mean? (pp. 34-36)

5. Some scholars assert that if the sinful woman of Luke 7 is Jesus' wife, then the scene presented is less offensive. Are there any problems with this argument? If so, what? (pp. 36-37)

6. Evaluate this statement: Since Jesus was a rabbi, it is logical to assume that he was married. (pp. 37-38)

7. Are there any cultural or historical texts to suggest that some Jewish men practiced celibacy? If so, what are the texts? (pp. 38-41)

8. If Mary Magdalene had been married to Jesus, is it likely that the gospel writers would have included this information? Why or why not? (pp. 41-42)

9. How are 1 Corinthians 7 and 9 used to argue that Jesus was single? In your opinion, are these good arguments? (pp. 42-44)

10. Why is it important to note that Jesus did not refer to Mary Magdalene at the cross? (p. 44)

CODE 3

1. (True or False) In the first century, marriage was a requirement for a Jewish man. What evidence supports your answer? (pp. 47-48)

2. According to Josephus' Jewish War, how did the Essenes view marriage and women? (pp. 48-49)

3. What book of Jewish wisdom literature reads like Proverbs and contains many warnings about marriage and women? When was this book written? How does this book describe adultery? (pp. 49-50)

4. Who is Philo? In what book did he write about the Essenes? How did he describe the Essene view of marriage and women? Why is this text important to the discussion of Jesus' marital status? (pp. 50-52)

5. Evaluate this statement: Singleness was a sign of shame in first-century Judaism. (pp. 60-61)

6. What are two possible explanations for Jesus' singleness? (p. 53)

7. (True or False) The Bible clearly indicates that Jesus interacted with women in ways that would not have challenged the cultural norm. Defend your position. (pp. 53-54)

8. What is the Mishnah? According to the Mishnah, how should men relate to women in public? (p. 54)

9. (True or False) According to the Mishnah, women do not have the same religious obligations as men. Defend your answer. (pp. 54-56)

10. What are some key biblical texts that highlight Jesus' high view of marriage? (p. 56)

CODE 4

1. According to Bock, what is the most misleading "fact" in the novel The Da Vinci Code? Why is this statement misleading? (p. 61)

2. In the Nag Hammadi Library, how many works are listed as gospels? What are they? How many "gospels" are contained in the Gnostic Scriptures? What text has the most generous number of "gospels"? (pp. 61-62)

3. Who discovered the Gnostic texts? When and where did this discovery take place? (p. 62)

4. Name three church fathers who addressed Gnostic beliefs. (pp. 62-63)

5. Why were the Nag Hammadi documents an important discovery? (p. 63)

6. What is the date range for the majority of the works in the Nag Hammadi materials? Why is this important? (p. 64)

7. What is the one, underlying conviction that serves as the basis for the Gnostic writings? What does gnosis mean? What are the four major theological issues addressed by the Gnostic writings? (pp. 64-65)

8. Why do scholars call these writings "Gnostic"? (pp. 65-66)

9. What are three key Gnostic views that are found in the Apocalypse of Peter? How is the Gnostic view of knowledge different from the biblical understanding of revelation? (pp. 66-68)

10. What is dualism? According to Gnostics, who is the Father? Who or what is the Demiurge? Who or what are the archons? Who or what is the Pleroma? How does the Gnostic view of God and creation differ from that of the Bible? (pp. 68-71)

11. What major Gnostic teacher spoke of God as a "dyad"? Explain this conception of God. (p. 75)

12. How does the Gnostic view of the "divine feminine" differ from the traditional Judeo-Christian conception of God? Did the incorporation of the "divine feminine" lead to a positive view of women for the Gnostics? (pp. 75-76)

13. (True or False) According to the Apocalypse of Peter, Jesus the Lord and Jesus the man were two separate beings. Explain your answer. (pp. 76-77)

14. According to Gnostic teaching, did Jesus die on the cross? Why or why not? How does Gnosticism view the Incarnation? How does this view differ from the biblical portrait of Jesus? (pp. 77-79)

15. What are some helpful biblical passages that refute the Gnostic conception of Jesus? Why is the difference between the Gnostic and biblical view of Jesus so important? (pp. 79-80)

16. How did the Gnostics view their critics? According to the Gnostics, could any authority challenge their special revelation? Why is this important to traditional Christians? (pp. 80-81)

17. Elaine Pagels asserts that "theology is anthropology" for Gnostics. Explain this statement. (p. 83)

18. How does the Gnostic view of spirituality differ from that contained in the New Testament? (p. 83)

19. Did Gnostics allow women to receive this "special revelation"? Was this issue of great importance to church fathers? Why or why not? (pp. 84-85)

20. Bock asserts the following: "The lesson of history is that [the Gnostic and the traditional, biblical approaches] to Christianity were so very different from each other as to be incompatible from the view of each school." Explain this statement. (p. 89)

21. Why is a full consideration of the Gnostic texts necessary when discussing their relationship to the Bible? (p. 94)

22. According to Bock, what is the real secret and code behind The Da Vinci Code? Based upon your reading, do you agree or disagree with his assessment? Defend your position. (pp. 95-96)

CODE 5

1. (True or False) According to The Da Vinci Code, Jesus was viewed as a mortal prophet until AD 325 with the rise of Constantine and the Council of Nicea. Justify your answer. (p. 100)

2. How does the novel appeal to the "Scholar's Code"? (p. 101)

3. Explain why the rise of Constantine was a major turning point in the history of the church. Why is the Nicene Creed important? When was it formed? Was the canon of Scripture still being formed in the fourth century? What was a result of that process? (pp. 101-102)

4. (True or False) Rather than establishing the church's beliefs, the Council of Nicea affirmed what was already the church's dominant view. Defend your answer. (p. 102)

5. How does the Nicene Creed describe God the Father? How does it describe Jesus? Does the Creed address the Holy Spirit? If so, how? Does the Creed address the church? If so, how? (p. 103)

6. According to Galatians 1:11-24, how does the Apostle Paul describe himself? What is the date range on Paul's writings? Why is this important when considering the date of the Council of Nicea? (p. 104)

7. What are two classes of texts that point a reader to see Paul's theology and theology of others who shared his views? How do 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 and Philippians 2:9-11 point to the deity of Jesus? Are there any other biblical passages that show the divinity of Christ? (pp. 104-106)

8. Which gospel clearly indicates that Jesus is the "Word of God"? Why is this important? (p. 106)

9. (True or False) Unlike the Gospel of John, the other three Gospels do not affirm the divinity of Jesus. Defend your answer. (pp. 106-107)

10. Explain the title Son of Man. Does it point to Jesus' divinity? If so, how? (pp. 107-108)

11. What does the word canon mean? Who was the first person to list the 27 books of the New Testament? When was this done? (pp. 109-110)

12. What are four forces that drove the effort to define which gospel documents were authoritative for Christians? (p. 110)

13. What is the Muratorian Canon? When was it discovered? What is the date of the manuscript? What is the probable date of the original list? How did scholars arrive at this date? Is the probable date of the original list before or after Nicea? Why is this important? (pp. 111-12)

14. How many gospels are contained in the Muratorian Canon? Does the Muratorian Canon list any works as "questionable reading"? If so, what are they? Does the Canon list any works that are to be excluded from the church? If so, what are they? (p. 112)

15. Which second-century church father wrote Against Heresies? Which groups were criticized in this work? Why? (pp. 112-14)

16. Explain this statement: "The gospel is quadriform." (pp. 115-16)

17. Were Mark and Luke apostles? Why are their writings contained in the New Testament? (p. 117)

18. Who was Tatian? What is the Diatessaron? When was it compiled? Why is this work significant? (p. 119)

19. (True or False) According to Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, there are only three indisputable gospels of the church. What evidence supports your answer? (p. 120)

20. Explain how persecution influenced the list of books contained in the New Testament canon. (p. 121)

CODE 6

1. According to The Da Vinci Code, Mary Magdalene "singlehandedly could crumble the church." Why did the church supposedly defame Mary and turn her into a prostitute? (pp. 125-26)

2. Explain how the "suppression of Mary" theory is related to Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper. (p. 126)

3. What is a "master story"? According to Karen King, the "master story" of Mary Magdalene includes which events? (pp. 127-28)

4. Who is Helmut Koester? Why does he maintain that a term like "orthodox" has no place in a discussion on the early church? (p. 130)

5. (True or False) The scholarship of Koester and King has largely gone unchallenged. Defend your answer. (pp. 132-34)

6. According to Ann Graham-Brock, how is Mary Magdalene portrayed in Luke and Acts? Can an argument be made that the canon actually affirms the role of women? If so, how? (pp. 137-38)

7. All four gospels state that Jesus first appeared to women after His resurrection. Why is this detail so important? (pp. 138-39)

8. According to Luke 8:1-3 and Luke 10:38-42, Jesus had a number of female disciples. Who were they? Who is Priscilla? Is there a biblical text that indicates that women possibly served as deaconesses in the early church? If so, what is the text? (p. 139)

9. (True or False) The selection of the twelve apostles was likely an invention of the later church to place authority exclusively in the hands of men. Defend your answer. (pp. 139-40)

10. According to Acts 1:15-26, what were the qualifications of an apostle? Why were the Twelve so important? (p. 140)

11. Evaluate this statement: Jesus was a feminist. (p. 141)

12. What are some biblical texts that assign limitations to women? Were Jesus' followers probably aware of these limitations? Which roles in the church appear to be limited to men? (p. 141)

13. Who first associated Mary Magdalene with prostitution? When was this charge made? How does this date relate to the date of Nicea? Did the Eastern Orthodox Church accept this view? What is the likelihood that there was a conspiracy in the early church to demote women? Explain your answer. (p. 142)

14. According to the writings of Hippolytus, was Mary Magdalene the only female apostle? Why is this important? (pp. 143-44)

15. Explain the various uses of the term apostle in the early church. Who is Junia? Is it possible that Junia was a woman? If so, how should her role as an "apostle" be understood? Is Mary Magdalene's "commission" or "apostleship" probably related to the Resurrection? If so, how? (pp. 144-46)

16. In the Gospel of Mary, Peter and Mary Magdalene are in conflict. Does the conflict center upon gender roles or special revelation? Explain your answer. (p. 147)

CODE 7

1. How does the character Teabing assess the "Great Cover-Up"? (pp. 151-52)

2. The novel asserts that the bloodline of Jesus Christ has been chronicled in many historical works. Which book provides the "well-known tome" of Jesus' supposed bloodline and is given a place of prime importance in The Da Vinci Code? (p. 151)

3. (True or False) Substantial historical evidence proves that the church covered up Christ's marriage to Mary Magdalene and His surviving bloodline. Defend your answer. (p. 152)

4. Why is a proper understanding of the "secret gospels" important to any discussion on the historical Jesus and the early church? (pp. 152-53)

5. If the deity of Jesus Christ was not based upon a fourth-century vote or council, then upon what was it based? Why is this important? (p. 153)

6. Briefly summarize the role of Mary Magdalene in the life and ministry of Jesus. (p. 153)

7. Bock asserts that "if the foundation of [the novel's] argument about Jesus being married and having a bloodline is thin, then all the subsequent history it relates becomes irrelevant." Explain his words. (pp. 153-54)

8. What are the two historical claims about the novel that are true? What does the breaking of Code 7, the summary code, prove? (pp. 154-55)

9. Why is it important to be aware of the "new scholarship" that fuels the historical and theological underpinnings of the novel? (pp. 155-56)

10. Why is it important to study the historical Jesus and the writings of the early church? (pp. 157-58)

CODE 8

1. What is the one key, or common point, that all the Gospels make about Jesus? What event(s) stands at the center of the Jesus story? What is the "real code" to understand, and why is it important? (p. 161)

2. What claims did Jesus make about God, Himself, and life? (p. 162)

3. According to John 10:10, why did Jesus come to earth? Why is this important? (p. 162)

4. Why is it necessary to address the problem of sin if we are to understand ourselves and our relationship to God properly? (pp. 162-64)

5. (True or False) Jesus was comfortable with addressing the issues of sin and the need for divine forgiveness. Defend your answer. (pp. 163-64)

6. According to Luke 22:19-20, what was Jesus' life mission? Why did Jesus "come to die"? (p. 164)

7. Why is the death and resurrection of Jesus so important? (pp. 164-65)

8. In whom does a Christian place his or her faith? Why does that faith save? Why is faith in God through Jesus the most important message that the church preaches? Why is that faith so important? (p. 165)

9. In the end, what does it mean to break the Da Vinci Code? What does it mean to break that "second, more important" code? (p. 167)

10. Bock asserts the following: "As a witness to the Resurrection and as one among the first to see and understand what God had done through Jesus, Mary Magdalene serves us far better as a disciple of Jesus than as Jesus' alleged wife." Do you agree or disagree with his assessment? Why? (p. 167)

11. (Bonus Question-This does not involve a specific discussion in the book but involves working through key biblical ideas that are a part of the divine code of the gospel.) The word gospel means "good news." For Christians, the gospel centers upon the good news of the God-man, Jesus Christ. Here are a few key questions that lie at the heart of that message.

a. Who is God? (John 4:24; Acts 17:24-28; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 6:13-16; James 1:17)

b. Are all people sinners? What are the consequences of sin? (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom 3:23, 5:12, 6:23)

c. Who is Jesus? What did His life, death, and resurrection accomplish? (Matt. 3:17; John 1:1-14, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom 1:4, 3:24-26; 5: 6-10; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 1:7-8, 2:4-7; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:13-20; Heb. 1:1-14)

d. What is the "gift" of salvation? (John 3:36, 5:24; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 6:23)

e. How should a person respond to this gift? (Mark 1:15; Matt. 11:28-30; John 3:14-18; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10)

Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D., is Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. He also serves as Professor for Spiritual Development and Culture for the Seminary's Center for Christian Leadership. His special fields of study involve hermeneutics, the use of the Old Testament in the New, Luke-Acts, the historical Jesus, and gospels studies. As well as being a corresponding editor for Christianity Today and past President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Bock serves as an elder at Trinity Fellowship Church in Richardson, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Sally, and their three children.

Breaking the Da Vinci Code copyright © 2004 by Darrell L. Bock, Ph.D. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Write Your Own Review

Only registered users can write reviews. Please, log in or register

Breaking the Da Vinci Code : Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, Darrell L. Bock, PH.D.
  • Breaking the Da Vinci Code : Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, Darrell L. Bock, PH.D.

Details

Many who have read the New York Times bestseller The Da Vinci Code have questions that arise from seven codes-expressed or implied-in Dan Brown's book. In Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking, Darrell Bock, Ph.D., responds to the novelist's claims using central ancient texts and answers the following questions:

  • Who was Mary Magdalene?
  • Was Jesus Married?
  • Would Jesus Being Single be Un-Jewish?
  • Do the So-Called Secret Gnostic Gospels Help Us Understand Jesus?
  • What Is the Remaining Relevance of The Da Vinci Code?

Darrell Bock's research uncovers the origins of these codes by focusing on the 325 years immediately following the birth of Christ, for the claims of The Da Vinci Code rise or fall on the basis of things emerging from this period. Breaking the Da Vinci Code, now available in trade paper, distinguishes fictitious entertainment from historical elements of the Christian faith. For by seeing these differences, one can break the Da Vinci code.

More Information

Length 224 Pages
Publication Date April 18, 2006
Company
  • Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10 0785280146
ISBN-13 9780785280149
Height 8.1"
Width 5.4"