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Dictionary Counters 'Da Vinci' on Its Own Terms

NY Times Bestselling Author Provides Essential Resource for Readers and Movie-Goers

To: National Desk

Contact:  Whitney Kelley for Bethany House Publishers, 972-267-1111, whitney@alarryross.com

SAN DIEGO, April 4 /Christian Wire Service/ -- Dr. James Garlow, one of the leading experts on the theology debate about "The Da Vinci Code," has compiled "The Da Vinci Codebreaker," (Bethany House) the first and only glossary of terms designed for those interested in learning the facts about the people, places, documents and events referenced in Dan Brown's runaway best-selling novel and the upcoming film by the same name.

"Welcome to the first dictionary you'll want to read from start to finish. 'The Da Vinci Codebreaker' is a thorough--and thoroughly readable--overview of the names, facts, dates, and everything else you need to know about 'The Da Vinci Code'," says Pastor Ted Haggard, President, National Association of Evangelicals.

Garlow, co-author of the New York Times best-seller "Cracking Da Vinci's Code," states that it isn't that Christians don't have enough faith to sustain their beliefs; it is that they are not armed with the facts about Christian history.

There is no lack of response from concerned Christian groups to counter the claims put forth in Dan Brown's novel, with several well-known speakers, evangelists and theologians weighing in with study guides, books and essays.

"'The Da Vinci Codebreaker' is designed to be a companion resource,'" Garlow explains. "Whether the reader is using it as a reference as they read through Dan Brown's novel, or use it in conjunction with one of the many other compelling 'counter-Da Vinci' books that are available, it is meant to be a fact-finder that is easy and efficient."

Garlow proposes that churches use "Codebreaker" as part of a four phase strategy in preparing for the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie. The book - or rather dictionary - is one of the tools that he relies upon to help people in understanding what he calls "The Six Things Every Person Should Know Before Seeing The Movie."

The paperback book, which hits the shelves this week, contains more than 500 terms, giving factual or widely-accepted explanations to historical events, as well as documents, Greek phrases, persons and places. Additionally, it features charts and timelines of the Church since biblical times, so that the reader is able to see for himself any discrepancies that may have been presented in the novel.

"As a religiously committed Jew, I've been appalled at the number of gullible readers who accept "The Da Vinci Code" as a piece of serious religious scholarship, rather than recognizing the novel for what it is--a cheap, skillfully constructed entertainment that is simultaneously a bitterly biased, utterly irresponsible slander of Christian tradition," comments Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated talk show host and best-selling author.

He continues, "'The Da Vinci Codebreaker' provides the factual background fair-minded people need to correct the lies, myths, and misunderstandings so recklessly promulgated by Dan Brown's novel and, no doubt, by Ron Howard's upcoming film. This book ["The Da Vinci Codebreaker"] merits broad circulation and serious discussion."

Garlow holds a Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as a PhD in Historical Theology from Drew University, making him uniquely qualified to speak not only to the theology of the novel, but the veracity of it, as well.

Jack Wasserman, a retired professor of art history at Temple University and an expert on Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted in "The Chicago Tribune" in 2004 as saying, "The writer (Dan Brown) gives the impression that he's also a historian - which he is not. I don't think he's so much interested in the truth as in drama and mystery."

While other Christian leaders may vary in their opinions on whether or not Christians should read the book or go see the film, Garlow makes no pretenses about the direction he is giving his congregation in Southern California and to the thousands of pastors he has been speaking to on the subject.

"'The Da Vinci Code' presents an unparalleled opportunity for Christians to not only be challenged to learn the history of their own faith, but also to share what they have learned with others - if only they will seize the opportunity," Garlow adds.

He concludes, "Regardless of what an individual believes, I think we all have a desire to know the truth. And as Christians, we have nothing to fear about the truth."

For more information about Dr. Jim Garlow and "The Da Vinci Codebreaker," visit http://www.bethanyhouse.com/, http://www.jimgarlow.com/.

To read more commentary from Dr. Garlow regarding "The Da Vinci Code" book and film, visit http://www.thetruthaboutdavinci.com/.