The Claims of The Da Vinci Code.

Where to find these claims: Chapters 28, 55

The Da Vinci Code actually has very little to say about Constantine. Nearly all of the information about the fourth century emperor is contained in a few pages. What little is said, however, is pretty significant. Constantine, in the words of historian Bart Erhman, becomes the 'archetypical bad guy' of The Da Vinci Code. In chapter 28 Langdon tells Sophie that the Priory of Sion 'believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity' (28.172) We have to wait until Robert and Sophie are at Château Villette, however, for the full story. In the space of half a dozen pages or so we are let in on the great cover-up. Constantine, we are told, was a lifelong pagan who only pretended to be a Christian in order to unify his empire under one religion. There were three parts to his dastardly plan to convert the pagans to Christianity. First, he fused pagan and Christian symbols together in a way which was 'acceptable to both parties'. Second, he 'upgraded' Jesus from mortal prophet, which was how he had been seen, to the divine Son of God. Third, he 'commissioned and financed a new Bible' which contained the new Christianity. All contradictory material was 'outlawed, gathered up. and burned'. If this is true history needs to be seriously revised!

In this chapter we want to answer four questions:

  1. Did Constantine fuse paganism and Christianity into a hyrid religion?
  2. What happened at the Council of Nicea?
  3. Did Constantine commission and finance a new Bible?
  4. Was Constantine's conversion genuine?

The question of Constantine's conversion is actually the least important of the claims made in The Da Vinci Code. It is only important if the other claims are true. In other words, if Constantine commissioned a new Bible, changed the status of Jesus and created a hybrid religion then his character and religious position is significant. If, however, he did none of those things the genuineness of his conversion is a secondary issue. Before we turn to these claims perhaps an introduction is in order!