PLEASE READ THESE FACTS FIRST:

  • Random House sued ME; not the other way around.
  • Random House filed suit to silence the facts I was posting on the web.
  • There has been NO trial on the facts, only the Random House effort to prevent a trial.
  • The only sworn statements made under penalty of perjury are affidavits from me and my experts, nothing from RH.
  • The judge refused to consider any expert analysis.
  • Despite suing me first, Random House & Sony UNsuccessfully demanded that I pay the $310,000 in legal fees they spent to sue me.
  • Contrary to the Random House spin, I am not alleging plagiarism of general issues, but of several hundred very specific ones.
  • This is not about money. Anything I win goes to charity.

Legal filings and the expert witness reports are HERE

I have a second blog, Writopia
which focuses on Dan Brown's pattern of falsehoods
and embellishment of his personal achievements.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Gnostic Gnonsense!

One of the things that Random House has constantly asserted is that Dan Brown and I relied on the same historical documents and thus it would be reasonable for some parts to be similar.

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.

THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS

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.

THE DIVERSITY OF THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS

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.

PAGELS’ “SCHOOL” EXPRESSED IN GNOSTIC GOSPELS

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.

15 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Incredible. So all he's done here is change the names and add some wallpaper here and there, but by chance they claim, he picked your exact selection from the menu of documentable historical belief systems. I'd still be afraid of them lumping the whole deal as unprotectable ideas; thematics and the like.

Still, that's the exact thing I'll be looking for too: a replication of the research which of course I gave the agency myself, stupidly it appears.

Wed Apr 13, 04:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

The key thing is that I _didn't_ just select one from column "a" and one from Column "b" on down for about 300 or 400 menu chouces that were duplicated ... I MADE SOME OF THE THEOLOGY UP! ... made it up! my own interpretation ... and, yes, THAT found its way into code as well.

Wed Apr 13, 07:28:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

And that is what will get you the real key to the tresure. Dateline has it on right now. I wonder why you weren't consulted?

Wed Apr 13, 08:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Well, let's see ... Dateline is NBC ... and so is the Today Show. The Today Show has a book club ... and The Da Vinci Code was a Today Show book club selection...

And the fact that Today Show host Matt Lauer pretty well shilled for Random House by spoon-feeding Dan Brown the easiest questions on the planet ... like the following which is part of a post I made on Lee Goldberg's blog:

Which calls to mind a June 9, 2003 lovefest where Today Show personality Matt Lauer, dressed in his usual kid gloves, tossed cream puff questions to Dan Brown ...

The whole thing was a HUGE conflict of interest given that the Today Book Club has selected Da Vinci Code as its current selection, but Lauer is not whom question four is for ...

EXCERPT from transcript at: http://www.danbrown.com/media/todayshow.htm

LAUER: Le--let me bring up something in Newsweek magazine.

Mr. BROWN: Oh, yeah.

LAUER: Oh, yeah. An author named Lewis Perdue claims that your book,and I think the words he used, "just phenomenally similar" to a book that he had written several years ago called, "Daughter of God." What's your response--I mean, basically, he's--he's accusing you of plagiarism.

Mr. BROWN: Yes. Well, I obviously was not amused. Apparently, this happens all the time to best-selling authors. And when the--when "Da Vinci Code" debuted at number one, I actually got a lot of calls from best-selling authors, calls with congratulations, and also of warnings saying, 'Well, get ready, because there are going to be people that you've never heard of coming out of the woodwork sort of wanting to ride on the coattails. And all I can really tell you about Mr. Pu--I've never heard of him, I've never heard of his work, and you know."

Yeah, I know.

Thu Apr 14, 07:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

Stone Phillips did a good job debunking the whole thing. He didn't use Pagels but two others who wrote about Mary Magdalene and one believed the story. Bart Erhman was on it. What they seem to be fixated on is the truth of the theory in the book.

Brown wouldn't come on the show. Where Brown scored big was by taking your work and inserting Christ himself into the equation. That's what the fuss is about. Big media is self-interested sure, but I'd take some comfort in the fact that they mentioned your work and case at all. I mean Brown is the one who looks bad in that clip.

Thu Apr 14, 08:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Ehrman is probably the best out there on the subject.

It seems like Random House is making sure that nobody gets to question Brown in any setting that's not a softball, fluff-piece venue.

Hmmm ... wonder why that could be?

Thu Apr 14, 09:30:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

He's hiding big time. This is quite a test case as to just how much of a story strcuture can one use and build on. I don't don't how many times I've told that anyone can write a book on Benedict Arnold. Sure they can, but if they take three years research of mine compiled in my order and I can prove the office had the opportunity to see it, then that's infringement. Since it's nonfiction though there always is the possiblity that he'll cite my work, but I'm not counting on that. Of course I've tipped him off ahead time so that's enough warning to avoid my work entirely.

Thu Apr 14, 12:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

Here's a take on it couresy of Scrivener's Error.

Darkest Secret Revealed

Fri Apr 15, 12:40:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

!ynnuf yrev

Thu Apr 21, 12:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger luce said...

WOW that must SUCK. i mean, the divinci code was amazingly popular and still is! Brown will be remembered for years! hes making millions! hes an icon, a celebrity, he achieved what most writers DREAM of.

and you say he stole it all from you?

all i can say is,

HATE THAT BITCH!!!! lol!!

i mean, fair enough your pissed but chillax, its not like you can take back his fame. in fasct the more attention you draw to it, its extra publicity. if i were you, id try an forget about it, i mean, you wil never be anything more than the sore loser.

noone wants to hate the guy that wrote the "amazing book" but peopleLOVE to hate the bitter guy who claims plagerism.

thats just my opinion. im open to yours.

Sun Apr 24, 08:39:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Yeah, Luce, that's the risk that you run.

But my only choice is to stand by and get ripped off or to do something.

Both alternatives have down sides, but I would far rather take the heat than to turn away from the systematic looting of my hard work andf creativity.

Slainte'!

Mon Apr 25, 08:07:00 AM PDT  
Blogger paul said...

so what if he did steal your ideas? He sold them, you didn't. copyright law is a farce. i can't believe you think you are entitled to money you never would have had just because he does.

Sat May 14, 11:34:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Actually, I did sell mine, otherwise there would have been nothing to steal.

Theft is theft. We obviously disagree on whether stealing is wrong.

Sat May 14, 01:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger paul said...

theft is not theft, theft of an idea is not the same as making a counterfiet copy of a book. YOur book would never have made the money his did, period. How does the fact that he made money with your ideas entitle you to money you would never have made using those same ideas?

Sat May 14, 07:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

It does not give him the right to steal my ideas and work.

Sat May 14, 08:45:00 PM PDT  

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