The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven

Sir Leigh Teabing quotes Martyn Percy, the great canon doctor, as saying that “the Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven”. Teabing goes on to say that the Bible is a product of man, not of God. “The Bible did not magically fall from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.”

Dan Brown is quoting a real person, Canon Martyn Percy, who since 2004 has been principal at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. Martyn Percy teaches and researches in three areas: practical theology, modern ecclesiology, and Christianity and contemporary culture. He is involved in most aspects of ministerial formation, and in shaping the life and future of the College. A

Martin PercyMartyn is a regular contributor to Radio 4, The BBC World Service, The Independent, The Guardian and other media. His recent books include Salt of the Earth: Religious Resilience in a Secular Age (T&T Clark) and Engagements: Essays on Christianity and Contemporary Culture (Ashgate). He has studied at the Universities of Bristol, Durham and London. He currently holds an honorary Chair in Theological Education at King’s College London, as well as an Adjunct Professorship of Theology and Ministry at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, USA. Since 1999 he has served as a Council Member and Director of the Advertising Standards Authority in London. He is also Canon Theologian for Sheffield Cathedral. Martyn Percy also co-ordinates The Society for the Study of Anglicanism at the American Academy of Religion.

Martyn responds to his quote in The Da Vinci Code in a web site, The Truth behind the Da Vinci Code, by clarifying his thinking about the Bible. He concludes his article by writing:

Dan Brown's book does raise some fascinating questions for Christians as they read scripture. He suggests, in a rather exaggerated way in my view, that the Bible is a cosy kind of serendipity, in which the church only endorses the books that in turn endorse it. This is one of the more ancient conspiracy theories, and it is interesting that it should be alive and well in the twenty-first century. I wonder what that says about the faith people now place in ancient institutions such as the church? Clearly, an explicit message of the Da Vinci Code is that the church has always protected its interests, and that scripture – chosen by the church – helps this ongoing process. But I suspect the truth is more subtle than that.

2 thoughts on “The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven

  1. philip

    I went to the advance screening last night.

    I was underwhelmed, and several critics (including me) chuckled out loud at the biggest “revelations.”

    Really, it was kind of dull and occasionally quite silly.

    I posted my review on my site, Scribe Life.


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