Thursday, May 04, 2006

Debunking Da Vinci Code # 4

On page 234 of The Da Vinci Code, the book alleges that the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi texts are proof that more than 80 authentic gospels existed which said Jesus was merely human. Dan Brown strikes out on these claims.
First, the scriptures found in the Dead Sea Scrolls are Old Testament texts that have nothing to do with the New Testament gospels. So the number of gospels discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls was zero. (Strike one!)
Second, the Nag Hammadi texts had 45 titles, only five of which were gospels: The Gospels of Truth, Thomas, Philip, Egyptians, and Mary. All of these writings dated from the second to third century, much later than the New Testament gospels. (Strike two!)
Third, all of these later gospels taught a heresy known as Gnosticism, which denied that Jesus came in the flesh. Rather than showing Jesus to be a mere human, the Gnostic gospels actually deny his humanity! (Strike three! Dan Brown, you're out!)

(For more information, see Darrel L. Brock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Nashville; Nelson Books, 2004, 61-64.)


Bloodiest of Ladies said...

O.k. let me state that I'm debating here. I haven't read "The De Vinci Code", have no plans to read it, and have actually refused it as a gift. I like logical debate, and you're one of the best, so I'm having fun.

So in all of this, here is the one piece of (I'm sure to be highly debated) this conversation I actually have feeling about. You've torn apart the ideas of this book on the strength of another, equally unprovable. Logic really would have to dictate that one is as possible as the other.

Brother Bob said...

Yes, it's a fun debate.
I have "torn apart" the ideas of the Da Vinci Code on the strength of simple, objective facts. For example, in the post above, I pointed out that "The Da Vinci Code" claims that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain gospels. Look up the Dead Sea Scrolls in any encyclopedia, or google it, and you will find that there are zero gospels in the Dead Sea Scrolls. That's an observable fact.
Regarding your imlication that the Bible is "equally unprovable," I would make two observations:
1. The message of both books must be accepted on faith.
2. In order to decide which book to believe, it is helpful to see if any of the statements in the book can be verified. If some of the statements in the book can be verified, it makes the rest of the book more believable. Many archaeological and historical discoveries verify events, places and people mentioned in the Bible. For example, in 1995 the bones of were found in a burial box of Caiaphas, the high priest who put Jesus on trial. The box dated from the first century and had his name on engraved on the burial box and were in the style of burial of a high priestly family. This gives us physical evidence for a person described in the gospels. In contrast, I have already shown you that many historical references in "The Da Vinci Code" have been shown to be false.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

Tell me more about the busial box found. Or point me to more information, please?

Brother Bob said...

I got my year wrong. I said 1995. Actually, in 1990, just south of Jerusalem, a Jewish burial cave was accidentally discovered. When the cave was finally entered, archaeologists found several limestone ossuaries (boxes containing bones). One of these contained the remnants of several persons, including those of a man about sixty years of age. The box was elaborately decorated, suggesting that it housed the remains of someone important.

On the exterior were these words, “Joseph, son of Caiaphas,” or, as scholars suggest the meaning may be, “Joseph of the family of Caiaphas.” “Caiaphas” was apparently a family nickname. According to Josephus, the high priest who succeeded Annas was “Joseph Caiaphas” (Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews," 18.2.2; 18.4.3).

Ronny Reich, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, suggests that these bones are “in all probability” the bones of that same high priest who prosecuted Jesus Christ.

Reich, Ronnie (1992), Biblical Archaeology Review (Sep/Oct).

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

O.k. I've read Mr. Reichs information (what I could find of it) and yes it seems to be good archeological information, but I think it's a bit of a jump to say they are 'probably'. I don't think a derivitive of Joseph is all that uncommon of a name, but it well could be the same person. Intersting thought. I wish we could know more.

Brother Bob said...

You can know more by looking up the article in Biblical Archaeology Review or just do a google search of the subject.
And the Caiaphas find is just one of many, many archaeological verifications of places and people mentioned in the Bible. You could also do a similar google search of the Pool of Siloam and learn of a recent discovery, or look up Capernaum and the home of Peter the disciple. There is neither time or space enough here for me to cover all of the examples. I would refer you the journal Biblical Archaeology Review for more.