The Associated Press reports that Dan Brown is not interested in taking responsibility for his novel, but will let people who know something about the topics mentioned in The Da Vinci Code handle the tough questions. This info comes via a talk recently given by Brown in Portsmouth, New Hampshire:
He's happy his best-selling novel about hidden religious history, secret societies and code-breaking has captured popular interest. The rest is not his responsibility.
"Let the biblical scholars and historians battle it out," he said Sunday during a writers talk presented by New Hampshire Public Radio and The Music Hall of Portsmouth.
"It's a book about big ideas, you can love them or you can hate them," Brown said. "But we're all talking about them, and that's really the point."
If that's "really the point", then why don't we also openly discuss "big ideas" such as why the earth is flat, why the Holocaust never happened, and why "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" might be true? Oh, that's right: because no one in their right mind would do so. Conspiracy theories and pseudo-histories involving Christianity, on the other hand...
The Boston Globe reports that Brown resorts to his usual spin about "dialogue" when it comes to criticisms of his novel:
In a talk before a friendly home-state crowd, part of a ''Writers on a New England Stage" series, Brown was a mixture of mild and feisty about the long-running controversy dogging his novel, which has spawned many other books attacking its speculative theme. The book posits a Catholic conspiracy to hide the survival of Jesus and his marriage to Mary Magdalene.
''My feeling is, these books are wonderful," Brown said, although he noted he had not read them. Their strong disagreement with him, he said, ''creates a dialogue which is vigorous and powerful. Religion has only one true enemy: apathy. The best antidote to apathy is passionate debate." He quoted a British priest, whom he did not name, as having said that ''Christianity has survived Galileo and Darwin; it can surely survive Dan Brown."
The priest is probably not named since it doesn't appear that a priest is the source of the quote. It is most likely this April 23, 2004 article for the Opinion Journal written by John Miller, a political reporter for National Review:
The fundamental problem with "The Da Vinci Code" is that it subjects the traditional story of Jesus to unforgiving scrutiny, like an inquisitor who simply won't accept what his tortured victim is screaming at him. Then it proposes an elaborate thesis based on wide-eyed speculation, claiming that a few scraps of ancient writing--e.g., the so-called Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic text written in the third century--assert things that they barely even hint at. If this represents an assault on two millennia of Christian thought, as some have claimed, then the faithful can rest easy. They've survived Galileo and Darwin; they'll outlast Dan Brown.
On a more positive (and apparently more accurate) note, we learn that Brown is very pleased with his novel:
The audience learned that the former prep school English teacher hopes one day to return to the classroom, and that he rarely reads his work when it's done. "The Da Vinci Code" was an exception.
"When the galleys came back, I sat down and I read the novel start to finish in one sitting, and I was really happy, really proud of it," Brown said.
As of this posting, no word what Brown's researcher thinks of the novel.