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Author

This page gives some background material on the author of this site, his academic credentials, approach to the topic of the DVC and his non-religious outlook on this subject.

It includes a link to contact the author, but readers are asked to read the Home Page material and FAQ before doing so.


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In case anyone is interested in who on earth would bother putting this website together, I'll give you a little information about myself. My name is Tim O'Neill and I have had an interest in ancient and medieval history for about 30 years. I was born in New South Wales, Australia, and grew up in the state of Tasmania. I was awarded a B.A. from the University of Tasmania in 1989, writing my Honours dissertation on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I went on to undertake a research Master of Arts, with a thesis on John Gower's Confessio Amantis, and was awarded that degree in 1993. I've lived in Sydney for the last 13 years, where I now run my own executive recruitment company specialising in the banking and finance sectors.

I've maintained my interest in the study of medieval history, medieval literature and ancient history, with a particular interest in the origins of Christianity, the formation of the Bible and the history of the early Church. I am an atheist whose interest in religious history is purely from a historian's perspective.

Like many people, I first became aware of The Da Vinci Code when it became an instant bestseller in 2003. On looking at it in a bookshop, I turned to its 'FACT' page and saw it claimed the 'Priory of Sion' was 'a real organization' and quickly dismissed it as something cashing in on the old New Age Holy Blood Holy Grail theory from the 1980s. It was only when people began asking my opinion on its historical claims that I finally read the novel in late 2004.

As a regular contributor to various online fora on history, I soon began to see the impact this novel was having on peoples' perceptions of history. I saw people making claims about the Gnostic gospels, early Christianity, the Emperor Constantine, the Knights Templar and Jesus which were not supported by the historical evidence but came directly from their reading of this novel. Eventually I got tired of repeating myself in countering these claims and decided that an online resource comparing the assertions in the novel to the evidence could be a useful project.

In the year and a half on which I worked on the text of this site, many books have been published and even more online articles and sites have appeared tackling much of the same material. Most of these, however, were written from a Christian perspective and I felt a similar resource which looked at the novel's claims with a purely non-Christian, historical eye would still be a valid contribution. The release of the Ron Howard film version of the book in May 2006, with its attendant condemnations by various Christian figures, added to my feeling that the web needed a non-Christian resource which could not be accused of religious bias.

This is not to say that the contributions on the subject by Christians are invalid or that there is anything wrong with their scholarship, but a perception has arisen that these responses are not motivated by objectivity or informed by scholarship, but are driven by a desire simply to defend the Christian faith.

Most of those resources and books also tackle the most contentious claims made by the novel's supporters, whereas few of them give a comprehensive analysis of all of the book's historical claims. I set out to do this and to give a 'Chapter by Chapter' analysis as a guide for anyone reading the novel, so they could check claims as they read.

Given the amount of time this project has taken, it's inevitable that this site duplicates some information which can be found elsewhere. I hope, however, that I have been able to cover these topics with a level of detail not found in other sources of information. The current version of this site doesn't have the detailed Bibliography, reference notes or other scholarly apparatus I would have liked. I hope future versions will soon include detailed references, links and resource materials for futher reading and research.

I'll conclude by saying that I have no problem with people who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code purely as a thriller and a work of fiction. For those that have also come to believe the 'historical' claims the novel makes, on the other hand, I'd ask that they look at the evidence presented here and elsewhere before they decide these claims are legitimate.

I welcome comments on, additions to or corrections of any of the material published on this site. Discussion of general issues and topics is best directed to the Discussion section of the site, however. Readers who wish to comment directly to me can feel free to do so via the mail link below.

I would strongly urge anyone using this mail link to read the introductory information on the Home Page, particularly the long section entitled 'Why bother comparing the historical evidence to the claims of a fictional novel? It's FICTION!!'. E-mails making this redundant point will be totally ignored.

Other comments, corrections or suggestions can be sent via e-mail to The Author. Please use this link with courtesy and discretion.

Tim O'Neill - May, 2006.

 

 

 

 


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History vs The Da Vinci Code is copyright Tim O'Neill 2006. All rights reserved.