Contra Fulvus Update

A new angle on the The Da Vinci Code, via the Boston Herald:

“It’s another kind of evil or outcast depiction of a person with albinism,” said Dennis Hurley, 28, who was angered over the homicidal red-eyed character Silas depicted in the “The Da Vinci Code” best-selling novel. “There are regular people like me who happen to have this condition.”

…Albinism is an inherited condition that affects 1 in 17,000 people in the United States, according to the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH). Albinos have very white skin and hair and very poor vision.

NOAH has called for an end to albinos portrayed in films as “mystical freaks” and villains.

Other examples I can think of are the villainous albino Klingon who appeared in an episode of Deep Space 9 and the albino kidnapped by Robert Ryan in God’s Little Acre who’s then put to work using his alleged mystical powers to find gold. Hurley has now made a short film, The Albino Code, which debuts today.

Opus Dei is also fighting back. The Scotsman reports:

Opus Dei has launched a publicity blitz to counter the negative image of the book, hence the reprinting of “The Way” which was first published in Spain in 1939. It has since been printed in 46 languages, with 4.6 million copies in print.

Published by Doubleday which also happens to be Brown’s publisher, “The Way” is a collection of 999 short nuggets of advice, exhortation and philosophy. Doubleday has set a first print run of 10,000 for the North American market.

Bill Barry, publisher of Doubleday’s religious books division, introduced it to a curious mix of priests and publishers, nuns and lay members of Opus Dei, casually-dressed reporters and slick press officers — and a black banker named Silas whom Opus Dei likes to call “the real Silas.”

Conservative Protestants, meanwhile are being marshalled by D James Kennedy. According to WND:

[Paul] Maier is one of 15 scholars, theologians and authors who join Christian broadcaster D. James Kennedy in “The Da Vinci Delusion,” a nationally televised documentary look at Dan Brown’s wildly popular recasting of ancient Gnostic heresies. The one-hour program airs May 13 and 14 – just days before “The Da Vinci Code” movie debuts worldwide.

However, Kennedy’s approach is somewhat unimpressive, if predictable. The “rebuttals” include the following:

“The New Testament is false testimony” (p. 345 of “The Da Vinci Code”). “The four Gospels were written during the life and the times of those who were the eyewitnesses of Jesus. Now, more importantly, they were also written during the life and times of the skeptics, who could refute anything that was said.” – Kerby Anderson

Well, certainly, to call the New Testament “false” is somewhat excessive – but this response fails acknowledge any of the historical problems (and there are many) that exist in the NT – particularly in the Gospel of John. And if Kennedy is so interested in historical truth, why does he continue to work with the pseudo-historian David Barton?

These efforts come a year after David Balsiger’s documentary on the subject, Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Hollywood Update spoke with Balsiger at the time:

Why challenge Brown’s novel? There are people reading it who may be contemplating Christianity, basing their decision mainly on the content of the novel. Also, those who still have questions about their faith could find the book conflicting. Grizzly Adams’ producer David Balsiger believes their videos have adequately addressed the flaws in Brown’s novel. “I think our show sets that record straight significantly, in so many different areas”, Balsiger states.

However, to reiterate a point I’ve made before, Balsiger would be better off setting the “record straight” concerning another book, if he wishes to remove a beam from his eye. Back in the 1970s Balsiger worked as a ghost writer, and he was largely responsible for Mike Warnke’s bogus memoir The Satan Seller. Warnke’s lies made a big contribution to the “satanic panic” that emerged a few years later (oh, and Grizzly Adams would also be the company that has the film rights to the absurd The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, as I noted here).

Over here in the UK, in contrast, the Church of England is backing a short book on the subject by Steve Hollinghurst, who aims to use the story as an opportunity to evangelise:

Other books analyse the historical or geographical inaccuracies and theological errors, but these are not arguments which will sway most of those influenced by the book.

This study looks instead at how the book taps into a conspiracy culture which distrusts authority and organised religion. It explores how discussion about the book can best be used to build bridges, and how to set up an effective event to which to invite people.

Hollinghurst complains about the

Roman Catholic Church single handedly doubling film attendance and belief in Brown’s thesis by trying to forbid people from seeing it…Ably assisted by a clutch of conservative evangelicals and biblical scholars.

In the Guardian, Theo Hobson describes the story as

a cowardly and inauthentic response to religion, a failure to be serious about what is serious…The phenomenon might be called “camp-attack”. It is camp in the sense of lacking seriousness of purpose, being fatally ambivalent. It lacks self-knowledge. It thinks that it is practicing critique, that it is debunking something, but really it is engaged in a form of cultic celebration. Danbrownism is a camp-attack on the biggest brand of them all. It is a secular myth utterly parasitic on Christianity’s aura of truth. It appeals to people who lack the spiritual seriousness to accept or reject Christianity, who want instead to hang around Christianity, to flirt with it.

I suppose I’d better get around to reading it one of these days…

(Previous entries on the Code here and here)

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