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The Da Vinci Code in the Academy

The Da Vinci Code in the Academy (Hardback)

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As millions of readers worldwide react to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, so do many scholars. The novel has become a proxy debate for two compelling scholarly and social issues of our time: the feminist/post-feminist challenge to patriarchal authority; and the textual construction of meaning and value. Presenting the feminine as both dominant and sacred brings attention to every text which argues for dominance or divinity. Traditional scholars are being challenged to defend their disciplines and practices, to reassert the authority of their knowledge base. Postmodern scholars are finding an opportunity to explain to the world at large how texts construct meaning and maintain power structures. These essays examine resistance to the sacred feminine in religious, cultural, and literary histories. Robert Davis explores the return of the goddess to academic and popular discussions. Deanna Thompson examines the apocryphal evidence brought into the debate by the novel. Rachel Wagner looks at the larger issue of postmodern textual authority, and how Brown's novel has brought Biblical interpretation to popular awareness.

Arlette Poland reviews current feminist and academic thinking on textual versus spiritual authority regarding the feminine divine. Other essays identify the elusive and misunderstood sacred feminine in religion and literature; in church teachings and practices; in the variant Grail stories; in the mystery genre itself. Together, these essays place the reaction to these issues into broader social and contemporary contexts.

Bradley R. Bowers, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair in the Department of English & Foreign Languages at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in New York and the American Academy in Rome. Contributing writers include scholars of language, literature, popular culture, religion, and women's studies.

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