• Can you decipher the
following anagrams?
The Da Vinci Code:
a Discussion
Presented by Colleen Kehoe-Robinson,
Information Services Specialist
Mohawk Valley Community College
Newman Center, Utica College
April 11, 2005
7:00-9:00 p.m.
• During National Library Week we celebrate the key role Libraries
play in “the national discourse on intellectual freedom”.
National Library Week 2005 Proclamation
• "Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and
receive information from all points of view without restriction. It
provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which
any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be
explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold,
receive and disseminate ideas.”
Source: ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom
• The Da Vinci Code has become a lightning
rod, sparking polarized opinions.
Commentary ranges from the inaccuracy
of historical facts presented and the way in
which Christian doctrines are challenged
to the idea that The Da Vinci Code has
prompted dialogue about religion.
Did you know?
• As of March 21, 2005:
• The Da Vinci Code returned for its 82nd printing, marking 10 million
domestic copies
• Worldwide: 29 million copies in print, in 44 languages
• Audio versions have sold over 500,000 copies
• Columbia Pictures plans to release the Da Vinci Code movie in 2006
starring Tom Hanks.
Cited in:
Maryles, Daisy. “10 Million in Two Years”. Publishers Weekly. 252(12) (2005) : 15. InfoTrac
OneFile. Gale Group. Mohawk Valley Community College Lib.,
Utica, NY. 4 Apr. 2005 <http://www.galegroup.com/>.
• The Mona Lisa was moved from the Louvre’s Salle Rosa to a more
spacious room named Salle des Etats on Monday April 4, 2005.
Cited in:
“New digs for 'Mona Lisa' “. CNN. 6 April 2005. 8 April 2005.
Critical Reception
Author Lewis Perdue has sued Dan Brown for copyright infringement, alleging that Brown
plagiarized material from Perdue’s books The Da Vinci Legacy and Daughter of God.
Cited in:
“ ‘Da Vinci Code’author denies plagiarism”. UPI NewsTrack. Jan 12, 2005. InfoTrac
OneFile. Gale Group. Mohawk Valley Community College Lib., Utica, NY. 4 Apr. 2005
The Da Vinci Code, the Catholic Church and Opus Dei: A response to The Da Vinci
Code from the Prelature of Opus Dei in the United States.
Many details regarding Opus Dei are inaccurately portrayed, “and it would be irresponsible
to form any opinion of Opus Dei based on reading The Da Vinci Code.”
Cited in : http://www.opusdei.org/art.php?w=32&p=7017
The Vatican response:Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone favors a boycott of The Da Vinci Code. He
sees the book as heretical, deceiving Roman Catholics and others by its distortion of the
origins of Christianity. Bertone says “there are certainly novels that offend millions of
believers in their deepest faith, in their most lively hopes. I believe this is not acceptable,"
“The truth is that it spreads false ideas on the origins of Christianity to which we must
answer with precise information and with a critical conscience," Bertone said,. "We want to
say the truth about this book.”
cited in:
Critical Comments continued
• Patrick McCormick
“Painted out of the picture: part of the best-selling appeal of The Da
Vinci Code is a conspiracy that has kept women from taking their
rightful place in the Church”
U.S. Catholic November 2003 v68 i11 p.36 (3)
Professor of Christian ethics at Gonzaga University, Spokane
“”In the end Brown’s novel is a vastly entertaining read that mixes the
thrill of a high speed chase with the magical pleasures of a quest
through an enchanted forest of art, literature and history. And that is
reason enough to recommend any book as a beach or bedstand
companion. But, in its own popularizing way, it also gives voice to a
growing feminist critique of a patriarchal church and secrets it keeps
about the goodness and godliness of women. And that’s good news
• In a joint statement titled “The Freedom to Read”, the
American Library Association and the American
Association of Publishers stress that “the freedom to
read is essential to democracy…the premise of
democracy being that the ordinary individual by
exercising critical judgment will select the good and
reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize
propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own
decisions about what they read and believe.”
Author Highlights:
Dan Brown
Amherst College, B.A., 1986; studied art history at University of Seville,
Spain. Formerly an English teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter,
Digital Fortress, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Angels and Demons, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Deception Point, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
The Da Vinci Code, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.
Works in Progress: A sequel to The Da Vinci Code.
Media Adaptations: Film rights to The Da Vinci Code were purchased by
Columbia Pictures, Inc.
Cited in :
“Dan Brown." Contemporary Authors. 2004. Gale Group Databases. Mohawk Valley Community
College Lib., Utica, NY. 8 Mar. 2005 <http://www.infotrac.galegroup.com>.
Publication Information
Author: Brown, Dan, 1964Publisher: Doubleday, March, 2003
Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/
Available in: Hardcover, 454 p. $24.95 (ISBN 0-385-50420-9)
MVCC Library Catalog:
(BESTSELLER PS3552.R685434 D3 2003)
Genre: Fiction – Thrillers
Publisher Summary: available online:
“While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night
phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the
body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is
stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all
to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.
Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator
was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac
Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.
In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a
faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can
decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical
truth -- will be lost forever.”
Research Tools
• Amazon.com web site
“Search inside the book” feature
• Mid-York Library System
The Library Catalog : books, audiocassettes, videos (DVD/VHS)
Electronic Resources: specialized databases for articles
• MVCC Library web site
“If you liked the Da Vinci Code” bibliography
“Search Inside”
• Functions as an index:
• Enables one to locate where a
specific term or terms is found
in the text.
• To search, click on the search
inside link on the top of the
picture of the book.
• Type in your search term(s)
example: “Vitruvian Man”
and click
Search Results for “Vitruvian Man”
6 results listed
Each result lists the page number
and excerpt where the term
If you are a registered
Amazon.com customer, you will
go directly to the page you
selected; if not you will have to
register in order to access the
page. On the page you will see
your term highlighted throughout
the page, and you can browse
forward and back two pages.
There is a search box above the
page that allows you to perform
additional searches for terms in
the book and browse other pages
The Mid-York Library System
• Search their Library
• With a Mid-York Library
card, you can search the
Electronic Database
resources for articles,
book reviews and more
from home!
• Log on to
help/yellowcard.html to
download a library card
application form for your
home library.
MVCC Library Resources
• Search the Library
• Under the Subject
Resource Lists link
there is a bibliography
titled “If You Liked
The Da Vinci Code…”
Web Resources
ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=oif
Amazon.com web site http://www.amazon.com
“Cardinal Exorcizing 'The Da Vinci Code‘”
The Da Vinci Code, the Catholic Church and Opus Dei: A response to The Da
Vinci Code from the Prelature of Opus Dei in the United States.
The Freedom to Read
Mid-York Library System
MVCC Library web site
“If you liked the Da Vinci Code” bibliography
National Library Week 2005 Proclamation
Part Two:
Focus Questions
• Why did you decide to read The Da Vinci
• Has the popularity and controversy
surrounding this book had a direct impact
on your decision?
• The characters’ use
of cell phones figures
prominently in the
plot. In what way
does this technology
enable the characters
to keep secrets?
• What are some ways
in which technology
compromises the
characters’ abilities to
keep secrets?
• Which character in The Da Vinci Code
changed the most during the course of the
• How did this affect other characters?
• If you were writing the screenplay for The
Da Vinci Code movie would Silas and
Bishop Aringarosa continue to be
represented as members of Opus Dei, or
would you change the organization to
represent a fictional group?
• The “Teacher” and “The Professor”
disagree on the Sangreal documents.
What impact would these documents have
if they were released?
• The answers are…

The Da Vinci Code: Focus Questions