While Christians reject the idea that Jesus was 'turned into a God' at any point as a matter of faith, non-Christian historians accept that 'Jesus' was a First Century Jewish preacher and healer who later became regarded as, somehow, God in human form. Where they differ from what Brown is implying through Teabing is when and how this occurred.
We have no shortage of writings from Christians of the Second, Third and Fourth Centuries AD and they regularly tell of their perception of who and what Jesus was. If Teabing, Langdon (and Brown) are correct, we should see a sharp break around 325 AD, with earlier writers referring to Jesus only as a mortal prophet and later ones adopting this 'pagan' idea of him being a god in human form. But we do not see this at all.
The evidence from all Christian writings prior to 325 AD, right back to the late First Century and within a generation or two of Jesus' own time, indicates clearly that the overwhelming majority of Christians regarded Jesus as God long before 325 AD, before the Council of Nicea and centuries before Constantine was even born. Non-Christian historians agree that the process of turning the mortal Jewish preacher, Yeshua bar Yosef, into the divine being 'Jesus Christ' was well underway as early as 90 AD and was more or less complete by the middle of the Second Century.
Anyone see the problem?
"We have no shortage of writings from Christians of the Second, Third and Fourth Centuries AD"
Ah? What about First Century AD?
He supports the kind of scholarship in which Second Epistle of St Peter was not by the Disciple Peter. But from Second Century. A scholarship that is a boon to "Arians" - people denying Divinity to Christ in the modern way rather than that of the historical Arius (who had no clue about that scholarship) - a boon to global flood deniers and a few other variants on the theme Christians who dare not be Christians fully.
But also a scholarship which is contradicted by - if not for Second Peter at least for the Gospels - authors from precisely as early as Second Century.
If Matthew was not written by St Matthew, John not by St John, both of whom were disciples of Jesus and known to be so, and if Luke and Mark were not written by men who were disciples to St Paul and St Peter, how did Papias come to think they had been written by those? How did Irenaeus of Lyons come to think so?
If Book of Mormon was not really written originally in Nephitic language encoded in Reformed Egyptian what-ever-kind of Egyptian characters (hieraglyphic, hieratic or demotic), there are clearly two points on which deception can have been practised, even if Mormons do not believe it was a deception. Point a, Joseph Smith can have been deluded by a demon (option only available to people believing there are such, but as a Christian I am not denying myself that option), point b Joseph Smith can have been a con man. Both are very clear possibilities. But Papias is not discovering the four gospels as Joseph Smith discovered the book of Mormon, he is claiming the Gospels were always accepted among the Christian community as of those persons. So Papias being either deceived by a demon or a deceiver himself is cleary ruled out.
Or assume Papias had been writing to give the impression the four Gospels had always been accepted since they were written by people who had met Jesus or had met those who had met him when in fact that was not the case but he had made them himself - how then could Papias have been accepted as telling the truth by the Christian community, since if they had just formed around Papias they would naturally have accepted Papias as their founder or second founder, which is clearly not the case, and since if they had been around without the four Gospels until Papias forged them, how could they have believed him when he was basically telling them what they had been reading for decades or in some cases even more than a century when in fact they had not read it unti Papias produced it? They could have concluded Papias was a good writer, they could have concluded Papias had done what Joseph Smith claimed to have done, namely restore lost gospels, but they could not possibly have concluded they had always been keeping them and Papias was just recording the fact. And if they had caught him saying that when it was not the case, they would not have concluded he had even rediscovered Gospels previously lost, since in that case they would have thought him dishonest.
But saying we lack Christian material from the First Century depends precisly in claiming that books purportedly from then were really from Second Century, it includes someone forging their collective memory in a totally implausible way. That is exactly why Bultmann is popular with Atheists and with Christians who do not really want to be Christians. They want to believe that ideas found in the books of the New Testament are really later than the death or cessation of effective control and influence in Christian community of their purported writers.
Not only do they not have the case O'Neill - one of them himself - has against Da Vinci Code. He says that if Dan Brown was right we would expect one literature from Ante-Nicene Fathers and we get another one and not at all that one. If he wanted to make such a case against Christianity, he would rather have to contend himelf with saying "we would expect one kind of literature from the First Century, but we do not have it" ... but that is not all. He would admit not to having the kind of literature from the First Christians he would expect if he were right either. And he would also have to admit that somehow or other a literature he did not expect from the First Christians had become attributed to them.
Of course he could claim that the First Christians were not expected to produce any literature at all ... but that leaves out the fact they came from a very literate people and that though most of the Twelve Apostles were comparatively illiterate as Galileans, one of them, St Matthew, was once identified as a Levi, thus as coming from the most literate families of all Judea, as literate as Flavius Josephus. He was also the one credited with the first and earliest Gospel.
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Basil of Caesarea
*History versus the Da Vinci Code
by Tim O'Neill