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random aside

For those who have read The Da Vinci Code (and no spoiler for those who haven't) - I caught the author in an error. His Hebrew transliteration is for shit. He turned an H into a Vav. What the fuck?


May. 24th, 2004 01:56 pm (UTC)
This book, like "Holy Blood Holy Grail" presents a lot of speculation as established fact. There's so much of that that I can't even begin to do a point-by-point; it would be exhausting.

Here are a few examples, though:

First if all, the idea that the pentagram (although they insist on calling it a pentacle, which is incorrect; a pentacle is a flat surface on which a pentagram has been inscribed) is "an ancient symbol of goddess worship" is incorrect. It's a pretty ancient symbol, but not of "goddess worship". Modern Wiccans use it as a symbol of their religion. The lead male character speaks of how the Church "suppressed" the use of the pentagram, when in fact in the days of the early Church, the pentagram was a very meaningful Christian symbol; it represented the five wounds of Christ, the five joys of the Virgin, a host of other things.

Then there's the claim (much bandied about in occult circles) that Venus transcribes a pentagram in the sky over an eight year cycle. This is also untrue... I have to go right now but I'll fill in more later.

The description of "Madonna of the Rocks" is inaccurate, as is the claim that Da Vinci received many Vatican commissions.

Have you seen abrasax's review?

The good thing about this book, imo, is that it will probably encourage some people to dig deeper into the activities of the Roman Church and into Christian history (it did that for my cousin, a devout Catholic.) The bad thing about it is that millions of the gullible will simply take the speculation presented in this book as fact and look no further.

May. 24th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)
But does any of that matter? It's not really the point of the book. Those are all details.

Of course, I do understand how you might feel, given that I was the person who hated the movie Pi for its inaccuracies.

I think it manages to get the rating of worst movie representation of go ever.
May. 24th, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC)
Whether it matters or not really isn't my point- jnanacandra pointed out one misrepresentation, and I pointed out others.

One could argue that it does matter, because it's going to create a whole host of idiots who think they know something about grail mythology when they don't. It's already creating a lot of confusion about grail mythos and early Christianity.

The only "point" of the book was to sell copies. Did you think there was another one?
May. 24th, 2004 04:06 pm (UTC)
True, and good points.

Except for your last. Do you write? Do you do so just to make money? I write, but not to make money. And if I ever do make money off of it (which isn't impossible, I'm actually good at some of what I do) it won't be just to make money.

I think accusing someone you don't know of having the purpose of their book being just to make money is very offensive.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you do know the author.
May. 24th, 2004 04:28 pm (UTC)
It is entirely possible that he wrote this book because he felt driven, because he felt a great need to write it.

If that was the only reason, I doubt he'd have published it. A good writer knows when they do a bad job.
May. 24th, 2004 04:33 pm (UTC)
Then there's the claim (much bandied about in occult circles) that Venus transcribes a pentagram in the sky over an eight year cycle. This is also untrue... I have to go right now but I'll fill in more later.

Ummm, actually, it's a well known fact among astronomers and astrologers that venus *does* outline a pentagram in the sky called the Synodic Cycle. It takes 8 years to complete this. Here's a quick clip http://www.astrofantasy.com/articles/astroarticles/sun_venus.htm If it's related to Christ, well it went back before him because the Venus Retrograde cycle is about suffering.. astrology goes back farther as this astronomical fact was well known among ancient cultures.

Another reason Venus is linked to the feminine is that she takes 270 days to make a complete orbit (vs earth at 365). 270 is the gestation period (9 months) for a a human female.
May. 24th, 2004 10:51 pm (UTC)
Actually, it's the superior conjunctions of the Sun and Venus that form a pentagram. The very web page that you link me to confirms this:

"I got to thinking about relationships and the pentagram pattern that Sun conjunct Venus makes every 8 years."

I didn't say that Venus and astronomy did not predate Christianity; what I dispute is his intimation that the early Church suppressed the use of the pentagram, when in fact it did quite the opposite.

the Venus Retrograde cycle is about suffering...

Do you have a source for this, other than modern astrology?

On medical websites, I am finding a lot of conflicting information on human gestation periods. One site says that the average human gestation period is 280 days, another says 265. However, some humans take longer to gestate than do others; there's not an exact day number that can be applied to natural pregnancy.

Nine months (nine moon cycles) is actually 252 days. This is simple math. The human gestation period is generally 38 to 40 weeks. This is between two and four weeks longer than nine months.

Also, the information I am finding online says that Venus takes a little bit more than 224 Earth days to orbit the Sun. Where are you getting 270?

Please, don't take my word for it, (or that of folklore) do the math yourself.
(Deleted comment)
May. 25th, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
I looked at several sites for length of the Venus orbit. Please, don't take my word for it, though- just do what I did, google for "venus orbit length". Here are some of the sites that come up:





So perhaps you should look again- but I doubt that you will, since you a)didn't prvide a source for your 270 day orbit and b) you don't seem to want any information that contradicts your preconceived notions.

You're kind of a pain.

Yeah, people always say that when I'm right and they're not. :)

May. 25th, 2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
A "Superior Conjunction" falls under the umbrella of what's called the Retrograde cycle, as does inferior conjunction, the shadow period, etc.

As for the source regarding the Venus Rx cycle being connected to suffering, it's based on modern day research of medeval texts but those texts aren't available to the general public, and the research has only been presented during international lectures.. again, not something that is published because the market is so small.

Either way, the gestation period is approximately 270 days. Of course it's not *exact*, because no baby is born at exactly the right time. That's silly. The approximation is acceptable though.

Nine months = 9 x 30 days = 270 days. There's the math. Have you not heard of babies taking 9 months to be born????

As for Venus orbit.. maybe you should look again.

It appears you're pulling bits and pieces out of context from webpages that you don't seem to know anything about for the sole purpose of proving others wrong, when you actually don't know much at all except for a little Google.
May. 25th, 2004 07:59 pm (UTC)
As for Venus orbit.. maybe you should look again.

The orbital period of Venus does happen to be 224.7 days (see NASA, for example). The Venus-related parameter that I see people compare with human gestation is the time between conjunctions. That's about 290 days, but hey.
May. 26th, 2004 11:36 am (UTC)
Oh, that's right.. it IS 224ish.

270 days would be 3/4 of a circle, creating the shape of a diamond.

224 on the other hand is 3/5 of a circle, creating the shape of.. what, a pentagram????

No, that couldn't be right!
May. 26th, 2004 12:27 pm (UTC)
Yup. Note that this is a different thing than the diagram of Earth-Venus-Sun conjunctions -- this one is a diagram of the Earth's position at intervals of one Venus-year. All kinds of pentagrams. (Any random ratio has a good chance of lying fairly close to some multiple of one fifth, is another way of looking at it.)
May. 25th, 2004 09:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, and a month is not 30 days, and babies actually don't take nine months to gestate- they take two weeks longer. A medical website will tell you that.
May. 26th, 2004 11:38 am (UTC)
God nitpicky!!!

Months... 30 days has September, April, June and November..
Oh, gotta remember all the rest have 31... yes. you're right.. how long exactly is a month?? 31.2344436567384297452892347529493-4535452y3....???

or perhaps 29.249238620235345276160236412043...????
May. 25th, 2004 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, over on the non-fiction side of the isle, I bet Elaine Pagels' books are moving off the shelves.

Is the author claiming it's a work of historical accuracy? (I'm not saying he's not -- haven't followed interviews, since I haven't read the book -- just asking.)
May. 25th, 2004 09:13 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've read anything by Elaine Pagel. Titles?

I don't think he's claiming it's a work of historical accuracy, but a lot of the claims made in the book are presented as though they are historically accurate.

It's obviously not the fault of the author if people take it seriously (as they are already doing), but he did have the opportunity to include more historically accurate stuff, and he didn't.
May. 25th, 2004 10:57 pm (UTC)
The Gnostic Gospels, for example. I'm in no position to judge her historiography, but she seems to be doing an honest job of it.
May. 25th, 2004 11:12 pm (UTC)
Wow, the reviews are pretty impressive- esp one from a Yale professor. Might have to check it out someday. Thanks!


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