Today’s Game

In the past, we have discussed Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and the upcoming movie based on it. I did finish reading the book a few weeks back. Like some of you stated, it is a page-turner, and I enjoyed reading about the characters’ adventures around some of the famous landmarks in Europe. But, even though I reminded myself that I was reading fiction, I still rolled my eyes a number of times when I came across the characters’ claims about Jesus and the church. Thus, in the coming weeks, I will pull out excerpts from a book that I picked up that details the errors of some of those theories. Here is the first post.


“The past four decades in particular have seen an outpouring of sensationalist books, motion pictures, and television specials in which Jesus and the true origins of Christianity are barely recognizable. We might call this phenomenon ‘The Jesus Game,’ and here is how it is played: Begin with a general sketch of Jesus on the basis of the Gospels, but then distort it as much as you please. Add clashing colors, paint in a bizarre background, and add episodes to the life of Christ that could not possibly have happened. If the end result still faintly resembles the Jesus of the New Testament, you lose. But if you come up with a radically different–and above all, senstaional–portrait of Jesus, you win. The prize is maximum coverage in the nation’s print and broadcast media. Any frowns from the faithful will be ignored admid the skyrocketing sales of your product” (Paul Maier, “The Da Vinci Deception” in The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? A Critique of the Novel by Dan Brown [Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2004], 2-3).

2 thoughts on “Today’s Game

  1. Just thought I would chime in on this one, since I missed the first go around. I actually didn’t like Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” on a literary level. I found it exteremly predictable. I had the last major “twist” figured out by chapter 10 or so, and I could figure out where the story was headed several chapters ahead of time. Since I was writing a paper on the book I had to force myself to finish it because I was so disgusted on a literary and thematic level.

    I am glad to see you posting excerpts from my friend Paul Maier. I have the occassion to talk to him on this subject on several occassions. He is right on. It seems like our culture is trying to find the most fantastic “story” about Jesus they can.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Jacob. Good writers must get quite upset when they see the amount of money made by authors like Brown.

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