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Debating the Da Vinci Code

Scenario

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has been a hugely popular novel, with sales beyond any author’s wildest dreams and with a general release film based on it. Controversy has surrounded it as readers have been drawn into the world of the novel and confronted with all sorts of theories and conspiracies which appear to call into question the origins and subsequent history of Christianity. Some of the responses from Christian groups have been surprisingly strong considering the book is, after all, a novel. But are there grounds for thinking that Dan Brown deliberately implied the actual historical truth of the novel’s improbable central hypothesis? If this is true, is it a perfectly legitimate literary technique or, as the novel’s critics claim, a cheap hoax calculated to lead millions of readers astray?