About The Secrets of the Code
Your approach is a thoughtful, intelligent breath of fresh air.... Because I have to be different, I'm one of the probably ten people on the planet who have NOT read The DVC. But yesterday I saw your book (in the grocery store of all places) and took a peak and briefly read a discussion about the gnostic texts and said what the heck and bought a copy and took it home and I've been reading it almost non-stop since. This collection of material is extremely useful and well organized, and your commentary is insightful, well written, and refreshing. Your factual staments are always cited, so just in case I don't quite believe you I can check up on you.Your writing is actually superb, I think. I'm a writer by trade and a voracious reader by inclination and an opinionated person by temperament, so I can't help feeling my critique has some value.... You're very straightforward about what you know (and don't know) and what you think, without imposing your ideas on the reader. You also make an attempt to be balanced and respectful of opinions that you don't necessarily agree with; much more balanced than I would likely be. In short, very very very well done, FAR better than I expected from a grocery store PB.... Even better, you have re-stimulated my longtime interest in the alternative (gnostic) texts and the Templars and Kabala and a myriad of other topics. So kudos and thank you. At this point I have no idea whether I'll actually ever read or see The DVC. I probably will but it's not important. What I will do is buy and read anything you publish from here on out.-- Liz, May 18, 2006
The concepts presented in the book are vast and often times mysterious; they are not something any layman can immediately comprehend just by reading it. It's a collection of many authors who presented their own point of views as they provide the backgrounds necessary for their arguments. So it's a book of histories. Some ideas would seem very outdated and cult-like by today's standard.... Overall, the book presents many sides of the story, not just the church and anti-church as most people tend to think. Like the novel, this book will raise more questions after you're done reading it. That's why there are many schlors who dedicate their life in pursuit of the truth reguarding Jesus. -- Amazon Reader "Aramaki, " May 25, 2006
A different perspective...Like many people I read the Da Vinci Code and loved it. I couldn't put it down and stop reading it. With the upcoming movie, my interest in the Da Vinci Code has been re-ignited. I was very excited about the Secrets of the Code so that I could better understand the theories that Da Vinci Code presented. I began flipping through it a couple of weeks ago and really enjoy reading it. It really makes me think about what i read in the book and it gives me a different perspective of looking at things. I really enjoyed reading the section on Opus Dei and the section on the pyramid. If you enjoyed reading the Da Vinci Code and can't wait for this movie to come out, then this book will make the perfect addition to your library! --M. Carroll
The best yet! Da Vinci Code leaves readers wanting more and Secrets of the Code satisfies the need. Written with care, intelligence, authority and intrigue, I found Secrets of the Code a cut above the look-alike treatises out there. This is the definitive text solving the mysteries of the "code" in an entertaining and convincing way. --Lucia Smith, May 18, 2004
Excellent discussion of the theories behind DVC I am very impressed with how thorough and intelligent this book is. After reading a couple of other books claiming to answer the questions asked in Dan Brown's book (Hanegraaff and Maier's "DVC: Fact or Fiction?" and Lunn's "DVC Decoded") I was hungry for a book that didn't just blindly believe conspiracies or biblical word. Burstein has collected a full range of essays that cover all sides of this argument. I feel like I have learned a lot about the early Christian church, Gnosticism, the Templars, and the controversy behind the Priory of Sion. And I feel prepared for many "water cooler discussions" when the upcoming movie is released. --“Big Wind”, August 27, 2004
Burstein Guides the Mysteries I have read several books now about The Da Vinci Code, and this one was one of the best. It is unique because Dan Burstein is not an author presenting his own research and biases, but an editor who has compiled a variety of scholars to present their own research (and to an extent, their own biases) concerning the many questions raised by Dan Brown's novel. As in life, we are left to decide the answers for ourselves. Those who are firm in their beliefs may not enjoy all the passages, but, if you are of an open mind, the journey is worth taking. --KD Marshall, November 9, 2005
Good commentary and background This book is fine for those who want more background on The Da Vinci Code. It does its best to be evenhanded on controversial points and let the reader decide. It is dull in spots, but that's what you get when you present this type of material. It accomplishes its goal well. For that reason I give it 5 stars. . . . --Paula L. Craig, January 16, 2006
Excellent if you have an interested open mind As others have said, this book is not for anyone encumbered with religious blinkers. Neither will it answer the big question of exactly how much of "The Da Vinci Code" is truth and how much is fiction - though you will be able to classify quite a lot of it. What it will do is clarify what is known, what is speculative and what is unknown. And it will give you a head start into a lot of history which is fascinating and was never taught in any religious classes I attended. Had it been, I would likely have been and remained a lot more interested. So if you know it all and just want your knowledge confirmed, avoid this book. It will just upset you and maybe even confuse you with doubt. But if you want to hear informed and sometimes conflicting views and arguments and learn a lot of most interesting facts about the foundations of western culture and thought, this is a great read. --A. Wilkinson, September 7, 2005
treasure chest There are 75+ short articles, interviews and excerpts in this book all related to key topics in "The Da Vinci Code" such as Mary Magdalene, the sacred feminine, the Gnostic texts, early Christianity, secret societies, Leonardo Da Vinci, codes and symbols. It's a lot of ground to cover: Burstein has done a superb job in finding selections to do that (all in under 400 pages). The quality of the contributors is very high, including gifted speculators such as the writers of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", top New Testament scholars such as Deidre Good and Elaine Pagels, and even Dan Brown himself (from an interview). This is decidedly not a refutation of "The Da Vinci Code" but some negative views of that book are included. Although the overall tone seems liberal, this doesn't appear to be a pro-Brown book either. After reading it, it left me with as many questions as when I started, although often different ones. It also left me with a list of books to go look for those answers in, books I feel I can trust after reading the corresponding excerpt here. For me, the most impressive selections were from the New Testament scholars Elaine Pagels and Deidre Good. I was impressed that, despite all their knowledge, they both are very open and acknowledge uncertainties. Whoever Mary Magdalene may have been, and whatever role women may have played in the early Church, it is wonderful that women today like Pagels and Good are making major contributions to our religious understanding. Mary Magdalene would not have been surprised. --“calmly,” April 28, 2005
The Code decoded????? Dan Browns Da Vinci Code is probably one of the most controversial books to appear since I've been dealing with the reading public as a librarian. Secrets of the Code, if read and heeded, will give you the facts you need to debate Browns book intelligently. Get the book....read it. --Robert Busco, May 11, 2004
Excellent....substance and trivia..., May 23, 2004 SECRETS OF THE CODE by Dan Burstein describes itself as the unauthorized guide to Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE, apparently because Brown has a website that acts as the "official" guide for readers interested in the source material he used to construct his book. However, rather than point to a long list of books, many of which I have read, Burstein's book also focuses on passages of those books that are relevant to the script of Brown's book. . . . Burstein has excerpted relevant passages from many works, interviewed a notable list of authors including Dan Brown, and included material from articles about Brown's book or some aspect of the book found in various respected publications. Probably one of the most interesting sections includes reflections, comments and articles by individuals who currently belong or have belonged to Opus Dei. Theologians, art historians, and at least one "symbologist" have been included in the list of folks to comment on varous topics in the book. In one section, the journalist David Shugarts responds to questions he has previously researched concerning the technical aspects of the plot. He reports on "geographical positioning systems (GPS), maps, automobiles, logistics, aircraft, weapons and computer search engines, and other technological plot elements. According to Shugarts, Mr. Brown got many thing right and several things wrong. I liked this book very much because I found it informative without being judgmental, and sections of it are as interesting as the original Brown book. Although the various contributors have their own often opposing points of view which they often express, Mr. Burstein, as nearly as I can tell, has no position one way or another, and thus acts as a reasonable mediator. --Diane Foster, May 23, 2004
best of all Of all the books written around the novel this is the moist serious and better researched. it is not a matter of what your opinion is about. burnstein took the time to look into each of the issues and find the people that have written serious books about them. it is not about "debunking" it is about opening your mind to possibilities and questions. the da vinci code is a novel and people tend to forget that. but with all the controversial ideas it brings about and all the debate it has rised; it is definitely great to summarize in one book the different theories about it. not everyone is up to read all the books, on all the themes. i've been reading about this theories for years and this is one of the greatest works, even for people new to the subject. --“book worm”, January 8, 2005
Finally! A true "guide" Burstein commences this novel with the explanation that once he had finished reading "The Da Vinci Code", he felt he wanted to know more. He wanted to weed the fact from the fiction.
As I was left with the same sentiment, I found his novel to be extremely helpful. He presents the major issues with views from all camps. He allows the reader to draw their own conclusions based on the existing and varied schools of thought. He arms the reader with enough information to research further if they would so choose. A methodical, unbiased and well-presented guide; a joy to read. --“A reader”, September 28, 2004
One of the must reads if you are intrigued by Da Vinci Code I had read the Da Vinci Code one year ago. While I was intrigued by the information presented in the book, I didn't know where I can read up/confirm those insights made in the Da Vinci Code. Then I found this book. This book offers the background information I needed to understand the Da Vinci Code better. It covers lots of ground, include those books Dan Brown researched for his book. It contains interviews/literature presented by authorities on the subject as well as unorthodox interpretations/history of the evolution of Christianity. Overall, very interesting to read. I would have given it a 5 star if it had a summary paragraph for each chapter (for example, the Mary Magadelen chapter is at times hard to follow with the opposing view points presented back to back without transitions in between). --J. Chou, August 11, 2004
Great Job Explaining A Lot Of Mr. Brown's Hit Book! First of all, like Mr. Brown's now world famous current novel, this is simply a great read! . . . Even while picking apart many trivialities, many of the commentators in SECRETS OF THE CODE note that many of the main premises have a lot of historical basis, such as that the books of the Bible were hand picked at the Nicean meeting (around 310 AD), and others tossed in the garbage (later discovered 1700-plus years in the Egyptian desert as the Gnostic Books).The great thing about a book like MR. Brown's is it makes people think, something that has not been encouraged all the time by many organizations, not exempting religions. So read the Da Vince Code first, then check into this highly readable, but super well done guide! --S. Henkels, July 15, 2004
AMAZING COULDN'T PUT THE BOOK DOWN I consider myself a non-religous person but after I read the Da VinCi Code I just couldn't stop looking up everything to do with religion, this book was amazing and I recommend everyone read this book. I am only 15 years old and totally understood this book so it is was a pretty eaasy read I thought. --“A reader”, June 14, 2004
THE starting point to finding YOUR OWN answers Out of all of the books out there that attempt to explore the ideas from The Da Vinci Code, this one is by far the best jumping off point.
Many of the books out there are written very one-sided, either trying to discredit all of Dan Brown's work or taking it to the extreme. This book takes the ideas one at a time and presents many different opinions on them -- conservative, extreme, and opinions in between. The author is basically a person who didn't know much about this stuff prior to reading The Da Vinci Code. Like many of us, he wanted to learn more. He went out, researched all the material he could get his hands on, and presents all the ideas he found here.
He doesn't take the arguments, and try to draw conclusions and tell you what happened. He just says here is what different people think and why. It's up to you, the reader, to form your own opinion from all of the different arguments out there. It is a great way to begin your search for more information. It presents many different viewpoints, using excerpts from books, magazines, websites, and interviews.
The sources of all the arguments are clearly identified, so you know just where to go to explore certain ideas further. This is the ultimate starting point to finding your own answers. --“A reader”, June 5, 2004
Justly Titled Dan Burstein is a business executive pushing venture capital. Yet, he confesses that he found Dan Brown' The Da Vinci Code entrancing and unforgettable as a novel. He says it is because it is a novel of ideas. Thus, he set out to explore those ideas to see what, if anything, was behind Dan Brown's book. A personal aside, whenever I read a book and the author gets something that I know wrong that should be obvious, I wonder about other stuff in the book where I don't know anything. In Brown's case, it was his geography of Paris on page 15. Having read "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" recently, I was familiar with the argument he was making, but still, I was skeptical. Burstein has assembled experts and sources for Brown's book and put them into a readable form. In some cases, he selects excerpts from other books. In other cases, Burstein interviews authors and experts. Some of them support Brown's argument and others don't. Even Opus Dei is given a section. My favorite section was a review of the facts and mistakes in Brown's book by David Shugarts. In some cases, Shugarts finds evidence to support Brown. Some interesting facts include that the publisher has set up phony websites, such as the one for the Swiss bank in the book. The bank does not exist, but it has a website on the Internet. There is also a glossary of characters and words mentioned by Brown with an explanation. In all, Burstein has put together an excellent collection of readings for anyone interested in The Da Vinci Code. --Gary McCollim, May 15, 2004
Find out what the secrets really are I had to laugh at the few low ratings by raving zealots on `The Da Vinci Code.'. If you are a person, that has always asked "too many questions," then `Secrets of the Code' is for you! Whether you are a Philosopher, Theologian, or Agnostic, this book is a welcome addition to your reference collection. This book makes you think, so Fun-dam-entalists should probably skip this one. Right or Wrong, this book will get your wheels turning...which is all that really matters, right? `Secrets of the Code' is a book that teaches, makes you think, and entertains, all at the same time. Few authors can accomplish that. In this case many educated experts on the subject matter. Buy this book, you will love it. --“A reader”, May 13, 2004
this is a must buy! What a great concept! To finish a "best seller" that leaves you wondering what's fact? what's fiction? and, then to find out that a new book exists that explores the myths, truths and fantasy of the church,s history regarding the role of women thru the ages, who was christ? and many more issues. This book "Secrets to the Code, etc." is fun reading and you realize that alot of critical study has gone into compiling the evidence that leaves you wanting to ask more questions. That to me is a good read. Suggest that you buy this book right away. --s. west, April 28, 2004
Better written than The Da Vinci Code I thoroughly enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code" primarily because of the historical/art/theological references and postulations. "Secrets of the Code" has all that I loved in DVC but in more fascinating detail, greater depth and authority and, for the most part, better writing. If you liked DVC, you'll love this book. --Craig Buck, April 12, 2004