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July 24, 2006

Da Vinci Part Deux

"The Da Vinci Code" was just fiction, right? No harm done. No one would actually act on it, right?

A California woman publishing a novel similar to "The Da Vinci Code" claims she is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Kathleen McGowan of Los Angeles is making the statement as her work, "The Expected One," becomes available this summer.

"I don't want people to think I'm claiming to be some elitist figure in the [Jesus] bloodline," McGowan told the Sunday Times of London. "But what I'm saying is that Mary and Jesus had children and after 2,000 years of procreation there are probably millions of descendants around the world. I believe I'm one."

This would never have been published if not for Dan Brown's success.

McGowan submitted her proposal to publishers in 1997, and says, "I was laughed out of New York City. ... I was told nobody would ever publish a book claiming Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene."

Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" asserted that after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus' child, moved to France with the help of Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus' uncle. She purportedly lived among local Jews and gave birth to a daughter named Sarah.

A former editor for the Irish News in Belfast, McGowan originally published her version herself last year after selling shoes on eBay to pay for research. Though it sold only 2,500 copies, the rights were snagged by Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

The publishing house has already spent seven figures acquiring the rights to the story, and will spend another $275,000 on marketing.

The book is based on a prophesy that Ms. McGowan considers true, and in a Rev. Moon-like move, sets up the prophesy in such a way that she possibly is one to fulfill it.
She says the book's title refers to an ancient prophecy about a woman chosen by divine providence to bring the real story of Mary Magdalene's life to the world. But she won't say whether or not she considers herself "The Expected One."

"I'm not grandiose about this, and it concerns me a lot that I could be portrayed that way," she told USA Today. "I don't want it to appear that I'm standing up and saying I'm the expected one. That's a dangerous, ego-driven kind of thing."

(As I understand it, Rev. Moon prophesied about a coming prophet of God that was rather specific, and that he himself fulfilled.)

So now, in addition to the many fooled by Mr. Brown's book (a book that, while fiction, he claimed was mostly the truth), we have another book and possible movie that may bring in more, and confirm the "faith" of those already in that camp. The church needs to speak with a louder voice on this, lest we give up the saving of the gullible and the ignorant. I understand the reluctance of some churches to deal with transitory pop culture fads and deal more with the eternal. I hear the best way to learn to spot counterfeit money is to educate yourself primarily on what a good bill looks like, but this phoniness is being passed around at an alarming rate.

Posted by Doug at July 24, 2006 02:33 PM

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I guess it's a good thing that Jesus had a little daughter. It prevents having to explain why there aren't millions of people around with the last name of "Christ" :)

Posted by: Tony at July 24, 2006 04:02 PM

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Posted by: Cindy Swanson at July 24, 2006 06:50 PM

Came across your blog by accident, but I'm glad I did. Although, reading this about the woman frustrates me, but it is to be expected I guess. I've yet to see the movie but I plan on renting it for $1 at the Red Box in town so as to spend the least amount of money on it as possible. I can't be a true critic until I see it, but I already know I probably won't like it.

Posted by: Pressed at July 25, 2006 01:39 AM

Indeed, frustrating and surprising, Cindy. And yet, yes, Pressed, to be expected when some dismiss it as "just fiction" and ignore the ramifications.

Cindy, thanks for your comment. Went to your web site and found a radio personality! :) I did some radio in college (Christian college, CCM music), and if this whole computer programming fad fades away, that'd be my next choice. (My dad did late night radio in the 40s playing big band music, so I guess it's somewhere in my blood.)

Pressed, popped over to your web site and saw you read the book "The Stones Cry Out". My wife picked that up recently and said to me "I've heard the title of this before, it sounded familiar". I noted the Bible verse about the stones would cry out if the folks at Jerusalem didn't praise Jesus. She knew that, of course, but the title itself still seemed familiar. "Well, there is that blog I contribute to...."

Ah ha! :)

Posted by: Doug Payton at July 25, 2006 09:18 AM

Of course, I've no reason to believe this lady, but the harm done by her claim is...?

It helps to remember sometimes that we are all God's children, seems to me. Recall that when we offer a cup of water to the thirsty, we have given it to Jesus, his own self (according to Jesus)! Have you seen Jesus today?

Posted by: Jeff Street at July 26, 2006 09:31 AM

There is no harm at all to be done by this woman's claims. After all, there is little historical evidence of Mary Magdalene or Jesus Christ, and nothing to disprove the theory that the books of the Bible are simply ancient fantasy fiction. Unfortunately, a lot of foolish people decided to BELIEVE IT, and built some kind of belief system around it. More's the pity.

Posted by: Brett at August 4, 2006 12:02 PM

"I guess it's a good thing that Jesus had a little daughter. It prevents having to explain why there aren't millions of people around with the last name of "Christ" :)"

This is funny. Does the person who wrote this comment really know how funny?

Like most comments on books like "The Expected One, DVC, and HBHG etc" Those commenting don't relly understand the subject. I don't either but I don't show my lack of understanding with comments such as the one I quoted above or others on this and other forums.

Posted by: Isac at August 25, 2006 03:36 PM

Its very sad when people keep spouting about the bible been so infallable.. This book was written by men.. edited by men,,, the parables were interpreted by men... Come on, we are not in medieval times... Jesus was a holy man,,, he was probably married to Mary and had kids.. so what... He was no God. A wise holy man perhaps.. Or a priest king... What ever

Posted by: Annsie at August 30, 2006 12:29 PM