The DaVinci Code is a mystery that unfolds within a day. But it's the mysteries discussed within Dan Brown's novel that have captivated readers and catapulted them into research, discussions and debate. The bestseller's popularity sparked an ABC-TV special and a lively, ongoing discussion at www.beliefnet.com.
Interest and controversy around the book stems from characters' study of Grail quests, the Gnostic gospels and the symbolism in Leonardo da Vinci's art, as well as a secret society and a Roman Catholic lay organization.
The book challenges Christian canon (by suggesting Christ and Mary Magdalene were married, among other things) while insisting "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
In an article for the Martin Marty Center's Sightings, Margaret M. Mitchell of the University of Chicago Divinity School called the novel "fun to read" but said it presented "a rummage sale of accurate historical nuggets alongside falsehoods and misleading statements."
Mitchell, who proposed a "black light" version of The DaVinci Code, suggested that such an edition would be unnecessary if "readers would simply take the book as fiction."
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