April 30, 2004

Classicists decode Da Vinci

A couple of days ago, Laurie Goodstein reported in The New York Times books section on efforts by Christians to debunk 'The Da Vinci Code', and since then, the classicists have been piling on over at Classics-L. Particularly rough treatment is handed out by Elizabeth Vandiver and Jim O'Donnell.

Sample quotes: "a kind of Never-Never-Land of woman-friendly, tree-hugging values overthrown by the evil Constantine and his goons"; "[t]he conflation of a multitude of different cultures into 'the Ancients' drove me batty"; "It's shoddy, filled with characters who can hardly even be called cardboard, and extremely badly written"; "the supposedly brilliant main characters are annoyingly stupid"; "at least Graves, Jung, and Campbell could *write*"; "It has no redeeming merits whatsoever".

I guess if you got them alone over a drink, they'd tell you what they really think. I'm one of the approximately three people who still haven't read the book, and this thread doesn't make me want to run out and buy a copy.

Posted by Mark Liberman at April 30, 2004 07:51 PM