“At this gathering [the Council of Nicaea],” Teabing said, “many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops … and, of course, the divinity of Jesus … until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet … a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.” (Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, Chapter 55)
The earliest Christian gospels are not the Gospel of Philip or the Gospel of Mary. The earliest are the four included in the New Testament, which are usually dated between 70 AD and 90 AD. It is clear from reading these writings that Jesus was not considered merely a man. Paul’s letters, which were likely written even earlier, affirm the claims of the gospels. This does not prove that Jesus is God, but does prove that this is what the earliest Christians believed. Non-Christian writings, such as those of Pliny and Tacitus, confirm Christians’ early beliefs that Jesus was not just “a great and powerful man”.
In The Da Vinci Code, Teabing seems to put great emphasis on the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary. Both of these documents are gnostic texts. Gnosticism was a Middle-Eastern religious philosophy that emphasized the idea that matter was inherently evil, therefore the physical body was to be despised in favor of the soul/spirit. Gnostics would be the least likely to believe that Jesus was “just a man” and yet it is their texts that Brown calls upon to back up his theory.
Something clearly convinced the early church followers, who were predominantly Jewish and held to strict monotheist beliefs, that Jesus was no mere man. You can explore the life of Christ for yourself with an interactive online experience called “Who is Jesus?“, a free, guided, 5 part course. Why do you think Dan Brown pushes the idea of Jesus as just a man? What difference would it make if Jesus is God as the earliest Christians believed?