As an example of that, Random House submitted a chapter of The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels with their last set of filings.
But, as it turns out, that may not have been the best example that Random House could have used.
The following excerpt from Lewis Perdue Declaration pages 1-21.pdf will give you an idea of what the facts really are. I will be posting excerpts on a daily basis, but -- because of the legal process -- must let the statements speak mostly for themselves with a minimum of additional comment and/or clarification.
However, the bottom line (quoting from my affidavit) is: " The simple fact is that the version of history that I created by sampling various of the Gnostic Gospels cannot be found in any single Gnostic Gospel....28. The matters regarding the Gnostic Gospels that Brown used in his novel constituted my unique view of those Gospels. They are a synthesis created by me of matters from the Gnostic Gospels. My synthesis cannot be found in any single Gnostic Gospel. Furthermore, I embellished on matters found in the Gnostic Gospels. To the extent that Brown’s expressions are identical to mine, the conclusion is compelling that he could only have copied from me."
Links contained [within brackets] are added for your convenience and do not appear in the court filings.
25. It is critical to recognize that I did not simply regurgitate the results of my re-search into Daughter. Much of my research involved the Gnostic Gospels, discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945, but not translated until the 1970’s, and works commenting upon those Gospels. However, contrary to the false impressions created by the Plaintiffs, the Gnostic Gospels do not represent a set of uniform religious beliefs which would present a consistent and uniform source that could easily be consulted by myself or Brown.
26. To the contrary, some of the Gnostic Gospels differ markedly from other Gnostic Gospels, particularly regarding an issue that is central to both Daughter and Code, namely, the importance, or lack thereof, of the female in God’s redemptive scheme. In writing Daughter, not only did I pick and choose among the differing religious beliefs expressed in different Gnostic Gospels, but I also employed my artistic license to blend those differing religious beliefs and, in certain instances, to embellish upon them to create a holistic interpretation that is not present in the original documents The simple fact is that the version of history that I created by sampling various of the Gnostic Gospels cannot be found in any single Gnostic Gospel.
27. In their motion, Plaintiffs, without any evidentiary support whatsoever, seem to suggest the Brown simply read the Gnostic Gospels, or that he read Elaine Pagels’ work, The Gnostic Gospels and then adopted the ideas and beliefs expressed in those Gospels into Code. Hence, Plaintiffs have falsely contended (without any evidentiary support or even a declaration from Brown that this is what he actually did) that Brown could have simply used unprotected matters that are in the public domain when he wrote Code. But, of course, that is impossible.
28. The matters regarding the Gnostic Gospels that Brown used in his novel consti-tuted my unique view of those Gospels. They are a synthesis created by me of matters from the Gnostic Gospels. My synthesis cannot be found in any single Gnostic Gospel. Furthermore, I embellished on matters found in the Gnostic Gospels. To the extent that Brown’s expressions are identical to mine, the conclusion is compelling that he could only have copied from me.
29. Gnostic beliefs are so diverse and encompass such a remarkably broad spectrum of beliefs, traditions, philosophies and theologies as to render the term “Gnosticism” useless. Because of this multiplicity of interpretations, there are almost as many “theologies” of Gnosti-cism as there are people pondering the subject.
30. Because of this intellectual and spiritual variation, it is remarkable that the inter-pretation of Gnosticism in Code is virtually identical to that which I created and expressed in Daughter, and previously in Linz.
31. Further, Plaintiffs’ attorneys have erroneously sought to excuse those similarities by attempting to show a common source in The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels. Because Plaintiffs have submitted no evidence that author Dan Brown ever conducted his frequently touted “extensive research” nor any proof he ever read The Gnostic Gospels it would not be ap-propriate to speak to the common historical source issue in that context.
32. However, it is possible to show that my interpretation of Gnostic beliefs ex-pressed in Daughter and Linz is a unique personal creation which differs substantially from that in The Gnostic Gospels and every other Gnostic “school,” and yet is expressed identically in Code. In other words, I “imagined” a Gnostic philosophy that was unorthodox and unexpressed in any non-fiction historical or theological work and yet that same unorthodox image is found in Code.
33. My theological creation differs because I picked and chose among the wide vari-ety of Gnostic beliefs in order to best fit the motivations of my characters, the movement of the sequence of events, the underlying symbolism and, in the end, the lessons I wanted my charac-ters and my readers to take away from the books.
VARIATION OF BELIEF
34. Gnostic writings vary so enormously that one prominent authority, The Catholic Encyclopedia whose contents speak with the approval of the Vatican says that defining the entire realm of “Gnosticism” is fundamentally impossible because of “...the obscurity, multiplicity and wild confusion of Gnostic systems....” (Exhibit “B”). [ Exhibit B.pdf]
35. Another prominent source, the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Helsinki explains that the term “Gnosticism” covers so much intellectual territory that many scholars feel the term itself is not useful. (Exhibit “C”). [ Exhibit C.pdf]
36. Indeed, the only common definition of Gnosticism which finds acceptance in or-thodox Catholic circles as well as by non-theologically oriented scholars is “those religious doc-trines and myths of late antiquity that maintain or presuppose that the cosmos is a result of the activity of an evil or ignorant creator and that salvation is a process in the course of which a human being receives the knowledge of his/her divine origin and returns to the realm of light after having been freed from the limitations of the world and the body.” (Exhibit “C”).
37. Ironically, I rejected this fundamental premise when I created the interpretation of Gnosticism that appears both in Daughter and Brown’s Code. Thus, Plaintiffs grossly misinter-pret the theological foundations and symbolic expression that appears in both novels. Hence, Exhibit “D” of the McNamara affidavit [(2005-02-25) Perdue - McNamara Afd with Exhibits.pdf] is neither appropriate nor significantly relevant to the current case because the views expressed by Pagels are different from the views expressed by me and Brown.
38. Pagels’ landmark work, The Gnostic Gospels, interprets Gnosticism within the framework of orthodox Christian thought, examining the reasons why Gnostic scriptures were not included among the canon of what would become the Catholic Church. It is worth noting that none of her writing places great emphasis on the role of Constantine in this process, nor on the Council at Nicea, which is expressed very forcefully in Daughter and Code, counter to most mainstream historical sources.
39. Indeed, The Gnostic Gospels focuses almost entirely on one major school of Gnostic thought, that of Valentinus. According to Exhibit C, “Valentinian Christianity is the clearest example of a gnostic school which stresses Christian elements. The group received its title from a Christian named Valentinus, a native of Egypt, who was a teacher in congregations in Rome in the second half of the second century.”
40. Contrary to the Valentinian backbone of The Gnostic Gospels, I created a phi-losophy that was closer to -- but not entirely of -- The Sethian school which Pagels mentions only in passing.
41. I named the hero of Daughter, Seth, to symbolically recognize my debt to this school of Gnosticism. But I did not adopt the Sethian philosophy whole cloth. I selected two of its major tenets:
A. The reverence for Sophia and her divine position as female deity, creator, savior and incarnation of the Great Goddess. I established Sophia as the female aspect of the one Creator of the Universe, and
B. Some (but not all) Sethian interpretations of Genesis 2-6, most signifi-cantly for this case, the creation of Eve and the eating of the tree of knowledge. (Exhibit “D”: Sethian Gnosticism: A Literary History, John D. Turner, Professor of Religious Studies at The University of Nebraska). [Exhibit D.pdf]
42. Significantly, I named the heroine of Daughter, Zoe (another name for Eve) to symbolize her role as the progeny of Sophia, making her a “Daughter of God.” Code uses this precise and identical symbolism. The heroine of Code is named Sophie (the diminutive of Sophia) Neveu ("new Eve"). Sophie is represented as the progeny of Mary Magdalene who -- in the Gnostic interpretations of Daughter and Code -- is seen as The Great Goddess, Sophia.
43. The issue of the eating of the tree of knowledge is examined in the Memorandum of Law submitted herewith as that of “Goddess Eating” and the roots of the Christian community. As illustrated in the Memorandum of Law this concept is expressed in identical terms and near-identical words in both Daughter and Code.
44. It is vital to understand that neither the Gnostic Gospels nor any other “school” of Gnosticism offers systematic support for these or the other interpretations because I created them, yet we find them expressed identically in both Daughter and Code.
45. Also significantly, I rejected the fundamental Sethian concept of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, as savior, and instead extended the concept of Sophia into the notion of her as, in the words of Prof. Turner, “Mother of the Logos and as the Mother figure in a divine triad of God the Father, Sophia the Mother, and Logos the Son.” (Exhibit “D”).
46. Given the astoundingly similar expressions in Daughter and Code of the divine Feminine (Mary/Sophia/Great Goddess) and the importance of sex, two further points need seri-ous consideration:
A. There was, by no means, a consensus among Gnostics that Sophia was divine nor that women were to enjoy equal status with men. Indeed, some Gnostic writing required that women had to become men before they could enter heaven.
B. There was also no consensus that love, sex or erotic thought was associated with Sophia or the Goddess. Indeed, some Gnostic schools felt that the physical realm was so evil that adherents ought to be celibate.
47. Even though Pagels interprets Gnostic thought in the framework of Christianity and focuses on the Valentinian school, she says “...the texts themselves are extremely diverse...” and frequently illustrates her selections and demonstrates her recognition of the vast theological spectrum with frequent references. For example, in the chapter submitted by Plaintiffs as Exhibit “D”, Pagels frequently prefaces her words with “One group of gnostic sources...”, “some gnostics adopted this idea,” “several gnostic sources describe...”, “according to one teacher…”, “other gnostics attributed....”
48. The number of these instances is too numerous to list here completely, but the central point is that Pagels is presenting her interpretation and analysis of Gnosticism by selectively quoting and emphasizing certain sources and omitting others. This is an academically sound method. While Daughter obviously does not rise to the academic level of The Gnostic Gospels, I used the exact same process of selection and rejection of concepts, relying on many, many different sources (Exhibit “A” [ Exhibit A.pdf]) to form the scholarly basis of my own interpretation.
49. But if the two novels were relying upon Pagels as a common source, those two works would be expected to include Pagels’ interpretation or a subset of her work, rather than duplicating a different interpretation as has happened with Daughter and Code – an interpretation which is original and unique to me.