The Expository Files


The Faulty History of the DaVinci Code


{Note: Lord willing, next month the special topic article will be a fuller treatment of "The DaVinci Code". Note this month's special topic article "What is the Gospel of Judas" for a related article}.

Though there are others, four excellently preserved ancient manuscripts dating from about 200 AD completely disprove the contention made in "The DaVinci Code" that no one thought of Jesus as Lord until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Constantine, in a shrewd political move, joined with church leaders and doctored and altered manuscripts, and changed the thoughts of the world about the nature of Jesus. That is supposedly the genuine historical setup for the novel and the movie. 

That is the point. The fiction in The DaVinci Code story is supposedly based on genuine history. If so, faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior; Son of God and the source of our eternal hope is vain. He was nothing more than a philosopher who married Mary Magdalene and had children and they grew old together. 

But discoveries of ancient, undoctored manuscripts prove that not only is the story of the DaVinci Code fiction, it is also based on fictional history as well. 

Papyrus Bodmer II (around 200 AD) - contains most of John's Gospel:  1:1--6:11; 6:35--14:26, 29-30; 15:2-26; 16:2-4, 6-7, 16:10--20:20, 22-23, 20:25--21:9. This manuscript consists of 75 leaves as well as some fragments. Bible students familiar with this text will quickly realize that this manuscript includes the wonderful identification of Jesus as the Word made flesh; that He pre-existed His incarnation  in the flesh; that He was with God and was God before the creation of the world (John 1:1-3; 14). The DaVinci Code is built on a faulty premise that no manuscripts ever read this way before 325 AD.  Modern belief of faithful Christians about Jesus is correct. The DaVinci Code is wrong! 

There is, in fact, over 5,000 existent ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  Three other very notable ones are the Chester Beatty manuscripts,  so named in honor of their discoverer who found them in Egypt in 1930. They also date from around 200 AD, again long before the Council of Nicea. They are:

P 45 was originally a codex which contained all Four Gospels and the Book of Acts. Unfortunately, what has survived  are two leaves of Matthew, seven of Luke, two of John, and thirteen of Acts. 

P 46 consists of eighty-six nearly perfect leaves, out of a total of 104, which contain Paul's epistles. Philemon and the Pastoral Epistles (I & II Timothy, Titus are missing, but Hebrews is included. 

P 47 contains Revelation 9:10 to 17:2, except one or more lines is missing from the top of each page. This constitutes a little under half of the book of Revelation. 

Again, these wonderful documents prove that our faith in Jesus as God's Son was not an invention of the Council of Nicea. The sad thing is that many are being led to believe that the historical background to "The DaVinci Code" is accurate, and if it is, then Jesus is not who we have thought Him to be. But the background history is not true, and that is provable.  

By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 13.5; May 2006