Da Vinci Code put on Trinity syllabus
Siobhan Maguire (London Times)
IT HAS sold more than 18m copies worldwide and been translated into 44 languages. Now The Da Vinci Code, the controversial bestseller by the American author Dan Brown, is to be the subject of an evening course at Trinity College Dublin.
The Decoding Da Vinci module will, among other things, analyse the contentious claim made in the book that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. Dismissed as mumbo jumbo by historians, the book represents an unusual choice of subject matter for the country’s leading academic institution.
Nigel Biggar, a professor of theology and head of TCD’s school of religions and theology, said The Da Vinci Code was chosen precisely because it confused fact with fiction.
Sean Freyne, director of the programme for Mediterranean and Near-Eastern Studies at TCD, who helped organise the Da Vinci course, said: “Every airport I have been to, I have seen people reading this book and there is no doubt that it raises a lot of questions about the historical Jesus. What intrigued me was how fascinated people were by this piece of fiction and the whole mystery and arcane ways of early Christianity.
“This is our first attempt at something like this and we want people to walk away from this course with a better appreciation of the use and spread of Christianity, without the fiction.”
However, supporters of the Catholic church, which furiously denounced the book, are not convinced that it merits a course.
An interesting experiment. It sounds to me like a good opportunity to get across to students just how absurd the book is and to introduce them to some real (and really fascinating) history.