University of Pittsburgh
May 18, 2006

Pitt Religious Studies Instructor Available to Comment on Controversy Surrounding The Da Vinci Code

Rebecca Denova to lead discussion tonight at Penn Hills Cinema

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The film, The Da Vinci Code, based on the novel by Dan Brown of the same name, opens today amid protests around the globe. Some Christians are taking issue with the movie's plot, which revolves around a Roman Catholic Church conspiracy to hide the fact that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had children. Pope Benedict XVI has not taken a public position on the film, but a number of church officials and clergy have condemned it and called for a boycott.

Rebecca Denova, instructor in the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Religious Studies, is available to discuss the controversy, why people think the film's facts are distorted, and the call for a boycott.

"I have trouble understanding why the movie is such a threat to the churches," says Denova. "If people's faith can be destroyed by a novel, then they probably didn't have a strong faith to begin with."

Denova, a former associate professor of religious studies at Bethany College in West Virginia, is the author of The Things Accomplished Among Us: Prophetic Tradition in the Structural Pattern of Luke-Acts (Sheffield, 1997). Her classes have focused on theoretical approaches to the human religious experience and have encompassed the major religious traditions of the world. At Pitt, she teaches The Origins of Christianity and the New Testament and Varieties of Early Christianity. She lectures in Pitt's Honors College on various aspects of world religions and the evolution of ancient religious concepts and their modern counterparts, and participated in a city-wide conference on the 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ.

Denova was a 1990 recipient of the Israel Heritage Room Scholarship for dissertation research in Jerusalem and also has received grants for research in Ostia, Italy, and the investigation of Etruscan tomb art in Tuscany.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science, a Master of Arts degree in middle-eastern history and politics and a Ph.D. degree in Second Temple Judaism and ancient Christianity.

Her discussion at Penn Hills Cinema, located in the Penn Hills Shopping Center at Frankstown Avenue and Rodi Road, will begin after the 7:30 p.m. show, at approximately 10 p.m. Denova can be reached at 412-390-1569 until noon or 412-600-9280.