You might hear people say that the story of Jesus in the gospels is just one of many stories about Jesus going around. Some will say that the story in the gospels is more like a legend or myth than history. The simple answer to that is that the gospels contain too much detail to be classified as legend or myth. Ancient legend tales had few of the details that the gospels have; the gospels are kind of a genre all of their own, most closely resembling ancient biography.
- Other people might say that The Da Vinci Code shows us that we cannot treat the story of Jesus in the Bible as the reliable truth about Jesus. But we can, for these reasons:
- The gospels are constructed from eyewitness accounts. This is testified to within them (Luke 1:1-4; John 21:24, 25) and also from literary research that suggests that the gospels are different in form even from historical reconstructions
- Other stories circulating lack credibility: the Gnostic gospels (of Thomas & Judas, etc) were written at least 100 years after the 4 New Testament gospels, they were not constructed from eyewitness accounts (because all the eyewitnesses were dead) but were written under false identities to make it sound like they came from Jesus’ disciples. Their stories not only resemble the genre of legend, but try to squeeze into the thoughts/norms of the day (unlike the gospels, which contain inconvenient truths, see above).
- Da Vinci is just a modern example of this, but with a bigger Hollywood budget. It is a novel and film (no one would say Twilight accurately depicts the vampire world), written for the purposes of entertainment, which ignores historical details and the scholarship that shows that there were many eyewitnesses who lived on for years after the events of Jesus’ life.