I read the Da Vinci code and thought it was a great page-turner! I literally couldn't put it down because it's very well plotted. (Characters are a bit cardboardy but that's par for the course with the fast-moving thriller genre that's not literary fiction ---- didn't get in the way of my enjoying the book)
I saw the film but didn't like the film as much as the book.
I got curious about the topic (the idea that the Church have been economical with the truth about Jesus, Mary Magdelene etc. in the process of developing their brand of Christianity) so I got a copy of 'The Authentic Gospel of Jesus' by Geza Vermes and have recently started reading it ---- Vermes argues that Jesus was human (not divine) and didn't know he was going to be crucified ----- very interesting book -----
Also Vermes discusses a lot of interesting quotes showing how Jesus was a spiritual genius (eg. he was to spirituality what Einstein was to physics), also a firebrand and got mad and lost his temper and got grumpy when he was hungry like everyone else. He was a charismatic speaker and exaggerated things for added effect, also he believed that the end of the world was just round the corner which gave him an incredible drive / sense of urgency (and his followers too) ... however after he died and the end of the world didn't materialise his followers were at a bit of a loose end as to what to do next ......
Also a lot of the Gospels aren't accurate and have stuff inserted into them for political reasons (for the benefit of the early Church), Vermes explains this in his book too.
Authentic Gospel of Jesus
By Geza Vermes
Price: £ 8.99
Who was the real Jesus? What was the original message of the charismatic Jewish healer and moralist who changed the world? Renowned Biblical scholar Geza Vermes distils a lifetime’s knowledge to examine every saying attributed to Jesus, scraping aside millennia of Christian tradition and writing to return to the true teachings of the man behind the Messiah.
The Guardian did a book review of it which is here
http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/stor ... 71,00.html