Scholar, Pastor Will Help Decipher 'The Da Vinci Code'

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Zahn Pohl Daily Herald Correspondent

No best-selling novel in recent months has received as much attention or been the subject of as much controversy as "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. The book has inspired readers to talk about subjects such as the secret societies of Opus Dei, the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar; the art of Leonardo da Vinci; the legend of the Holy Grail; and the role of Mary Magdalene in the life of Jesus.

Readers of the novel who want more detail and discussion of church and art history, theology, early Christianity, the origin of the Gospels and the sacred feminine may want to attend "The Da Vinci Code: Mostly Wrong or Mostly Right?"

Sponsored by the Christians for Biblical Equality and the First Presbyterian Church, the free program is open to the community from 7 to 9 p.m. March 26 at the church, 500 Anthony St., Glen Ellyn.

Alan Johnson of Wheaton, emeritus professor of New Testament and Christian ethics at Wheaton College, will present his knowledge of the early church and how it's portrayed in the fictional book. He said the book has fascinated so many people because it's multi- layered with topics that touch on certain sensitivities in our culture.

"On one level, (the book) has become very popular because it's a mystery and good read," said Johnson, who admits he is not a literary critic. "Yet, it's almost a deliberate attempt to question what Christians understand about the origins of Christianity and the Bible we use now. …