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In the mid-2000s, a book called The Da Vinci Code was published. This book caused so many Biblical scholars and historians to challenge the validity of the book. If you are not familiar with some of the red flags, there are three that stand out immediately:
1) the church had conspired a cover-up for centuries about Christ being “merely a mortal”,
2) the novel indicates that Mary Magdalene was not only from the tribe of Benjamin, but was Jesus’ wife,
3) there is sacred feminism in relation to the Mona Lisa painting and even the Olympics being sacrificial to goddesses in Greek mythology.
Since its printing and the release of the movie, historians have disputed all of these, and there is just no solid evidence of any of this in the Bible. This novel is a fantastic fiction novel that can ideally be dangerous for non-believers that misconstrue Biblical text.
Got Questions.org quotes, “The fiction novel ‘The DaVinci Code’ made the claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Some of the non-biblical early Christian writings (considered heresy by the early Christians) hint at a special relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. However, there is no evidence whatsoever to support the belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The Bible does not even hint at such an idea.”
Also, the Olympics were sacrificial to Zeus, and rebuttals from art historians for the Da Vinci Code unapologetically indicate that the Mona Lisa IS the portrait of Modonna Lisa, the wife of Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo.
Even though I can applaud the author’s clever adaptations for the book, I started pondering if divisions of this magnitude had affected Americans before. And, to no one’s surprise, I have found one.
I recently ordered the Classics Illustrated adaptation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. After reading through this abbreviation of the classic story with notes, I was horrified by what the story portrayed of the antebellum era in the South, and I can see why her book stirred the hearts of so many.
It is an almost impossible task to convey the complexities of the plot in one blog, but I can give you key points to consider, such as the author, themes of equality, non-violence, religion, popularity, and reception.
There was an original subtitle used in this book in an edition of the National Era, 1851: “Life Among the Lowly”.
In 1852, Stowe’s book went on to surpass all other book sales, with one exception: the Bible.
Her story gained the attention and acclaim of other famous writers such as Tolstoy, Dickens, and even President Lincoln. When they met during the Civil War, Lincoln exclaimed, “So you’re the little woman who made this great war.”
Stowe had seen the extremities of slavery when her family moved to Cincinnati in 1832 and had visited slave-holding friends in Kentucky during this time. In 1850, she and the family moved to Brunswick at the height of the controversial Fugitive Slave Law. This concept is portrayed vividly in the story.
She also must have either read or seen the slave auctions in New Orleans, as she writes in detail about wealthy slave owners treating Tom like a horse preparing for a race at the track. She even gave details in the book that were codes to be understood by runaways on the infamous network, the Underground Railroad.
A few new facts I unearthed as I read the notes by essayist Karen Karbiener left me even more disturbed: “ The task of returning fugitive slaves was taken out of the hands of the courts and turned over to federal commissioners. All the pursuing slaveholder or his agent had to do was to present proof of ownership to the commissioner, who had the power to declare the runaway free or to turn him over to the supposed owner. A commissioner was paid five dollars if he decided that a person was not a slave, and ten dollars if he was.”
The Fugitive Slave Law incentivized dishonesty in the Northern states. As a commissioner, you are paid MORE to return blacks to the South, regardless if they were freedmen, a merchant, etc.
Ironically, Tom portrays a ‘sacrificial lamb’ as he convinces others on the plantation to believe that “trust in the Lord will set us free”. Unfortunately, he dies in bondage just as his original owner arrives at the plantation to buy him back. He is too little too late to save Tom’s physical body, but one thing the slave owner could NOT harm was his soul. Tom’s death results in Tom’s original owner, Mr. Shelby, emancipating his slaves.
Strong sympathy in this fictitious novel fueled the abolitionist movement that became American law with the conclusion of America’s bloodiest war in 1865. The 13th Amendment declared slavery illegal in the United States.
Religion is an unfortunate cause of so many wars. You can trace the root of so many wars back to economics, as well. However, sometimes it can simply take “realistic writing” in a fictitious novel to widen the divide.
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Five Finger Tees has a clever t-shirt of our 16th President’s thoughts on ‘the theater’. Thank you, U.S. History nerds, for understanding the reference!
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