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When Matthew Skinner read The Da Vinci Code, he found the plot of Dan Brown's best-selling novel "contrived" and the characters "flat." But as a scholar, he found the book "exciting--and frustrating."
"It's frustrating because the author plays fast and loose with history. But the book does serve as a vehicle to bring issues of faith into a public venue. In particular, it causes readers to ask, 'Who is Jesus?'" says Skinner, who is assistant professor of New Testament at Luther.
Last January, when Skinner was invited by Edina Community Lutheran Church to explore some of the questions raised by the novel, organizers expected about 50 people to attend the event. Instead a standing-room-only crowd of over 300 people showed up to learn more about such issues as these:
This spring Skinner will offer "The New Testament and The Da Vinci Code: Exploring Questions about Faith, Fiction, and Early Christian Texts" in Luther's Lay School of Theology. "I'm not trying to refute the book--it's a work of fiction, after all. But the issues it raises are important for our faith, and people want to think deeply about them," he says.
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