A new section of the Church of England website has been launched this week, inviting people to consider the facts and fiction of the Da Vinci Code for themselves.
Aimed at the casual browser or the curate devising a compelling event, it pits the 'facts' of the Dan Brown novel with the story of Jesus accepted by the Church for generations.
The dilemma is simply set out at www.cofe.anglican.org/info/davinci, which says: "According to Dan Brown's novel, Jesus married Mary Magdalene, they had children and their blood line continues today. The Church of England believes that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit, fulfilled a ministry on Earth, died on a cross and rose again three days later. He left behind a new church that has spread throughout the world.
"These are very different beliefs about Jesus. What do you think?"
The Revd Dr Richard Burridge, Dean of King's College London, which was featured in the book, said: "The Da Vinci Code is a cracking good read, a real page-turner of a novel. One of its appeals is that we all like secrets. But its claims about Jesus are cracked. In fact, sometimes the real truth is stranger than fiction. Get exploring!"The Catholic Truth Society have a number of booklets pointing out the gap between fact and fiction in the Da Vinci Code. See: www.cts-online.org.uk/.
Resources are also available on the website of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation. See: www.caseresources.org/
LONDON - 9 May 2006 - 255 words