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The Da Vinci Code | Study Guide

Dan Brown

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The Da Vinci Code | Chapters 46–58 | Summary



Chapter 46

Silas despairs. He feels he has failed Bishop Aringarosa by failing to find the Grail and by killing the nun. He thinks of the Teacher and how the Grail quest began. Silas realizes following the clues about the Rose Line was a ruse and that "all is lost."

Chapter 47

Langdon opens the rosewood box. He and Sophie marvel at what's inside. It is a polished stone cylinder—or cryptex (like the one designed by da Vinci)—made of slices of movable, stacked stone with writing on each slice. The secret word is another puzzle they must solve to open the cryptex. Markings on each slice must be lined up precisely to open the cryptex and find the message within. In handling the cryptex, Langdon hears the sound of liquid inside. He realizes it's a vial of vinegar that will dissolve the papyrus message if the cryptex is forced open or dropped. They wonder how to crack the code as they travel in the back of the bank van.

Chapter 48

Langdon explains the connection between the Grail and a keystone (a vault or an archway). He believes the cryptex contains the vital keystone, which is an encoded map leading to the hidden Grail. Langdon explains the importance of the keystone as a secret held by only four proven expert members of the Priory of Sion. Saunière, it seems, was the Grand Master of the Priory. Langdon's thoughts are interrupted as the van slows and stops.

Chapter 49

Vernet opens the van's back doors. He is holding a gun and demands that Sophie and Langdon give him the rosewood box. He thinks he is protecting Saunière's valuables from two criminals. To lift the box, he must put down his gun. As he pretends to hand the box over, Langdon manages to smash Vernet in the face with the van door. Vernet falls, bleeding. Langdon retrieves the box and the gun. He and Sophie get in the van and drive away.

Chapter 50

Bishop Aringarosa is being driven to the airport, holding 20 million euros in Vatican bearer bonds. He is a bit worried at not hearing from the Teacher about the mission.

Chapter 51

Sophie and Langdon are racing away in the damaged van. They make temporary repairs, but they don't know where to hide. Then Langdon remembers his wealthy friend and Grail expert Sir Leigh Teabing, who happens to own an estate nearby. Langdon assures Sophie that Teabing can be trusted. While they drive, they try to guess what five-letter code will open the cryptex. Sophie tries a few, but none work. Langdon reassures Sophie that Teabing is the right person to hide them and help them find the Grail.

Chapter 52

The narrator describes Teabing's grand home, Château Villette. Langdon rings at the gate, but Teabing's servant, Rémy Legaludec, says his master is asleep. Rémy wakes Teabing when Langdon mentions the Grail.

Chapter 53

Vernet calls his bank to report his van stolen. By now, the police are inside the bank looking for the fugitives. Vernet has a bank employee activate a transmitter hidden on the underside of the van. Its location is soon revealed.

Chapter 54

Langdon hides the van among some trees. He doesn't know about the transponder signal. When they enter the house, Langdon hides the cryptex underneath a divan. Teabing enters and greets Langdon warmly. Teabing is able to walk with braces on his legs and using crutches. Langdon says they would like to discuss the Priory of Sion. Then he asks Teabing to tell Sophie about the Grail.

Chapter 55

Teabing describes the Grail from its earliest history to the modern era. He quotes from da Vinci's diaries. He explains that the Bible is a historical, not God-given, religious document. He discusses Jesus's royal lineage from King Solomon. Teabing gives several examples of how the Bible has borrowed symbols from other religions, even pagan ones. He explains the vital role of the Council of Nicaea in determining what orthodox Christianity would be. Other versions of Christ's teachings were deemed heresy and destroyed, allowing the Church to retain sole power over the religion. Teabing refers to unearthed ancient documents, as well as da Vinci's paintings, as clues to the true teachings of Christ.

Chapter 56

Teabing enlightens Sophie about the Grail further. He explains its association with the sacred feminine, which has been suppressed by the Church. He claims the Grail is a person, not a thing. He explains the chalice symbol as indicating the divine feminine.

Chapter 57

Back at the Depository Bank of Zurich, Collet finally gets a search warrant. The police have located a stolen van in a Paris suburb. Collet leaves to find the van. Meanwhile, Silas has also located Sophie and Langdon. He arrives armed at Teabing's estate to steal the Grail.

Chapter 58

The group stands before Teabing's copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Sophie sees the chalice symbol and recognizes Mary Magdalene in the painting. She realizes Magdalene is the Grail. Teabing astonishes Sophie by telling her that Magdalene was not a prostitute (a smear by the Church) but rather Jesus's wife. He reveals other "hidden" symbols and icons incorporated into the painting. Teabing references the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi manuscripts as further evidence. He even explains a family tree showing the royal birth of both Magdalene and Jesus. He astonishes Sophie with the notion that they had children whose descendants are alive today.


As part of the Opus Dei conspiracy to steal the Grail, Bishop Aringarosa puts Silas in touch with the mastermind of the plot—the Teacher. The lies and the bloodshed have all been part of a conspiracy by the Teacher to gain authority by stealing the Grail.

The stone cryptex found in the rosewood box is yet another puzzle to be solved. It is one designed for those with code-breaking talents. The key to the cryptex, or keystone, was passed orally from one generation of select Priory members (stewards) to the next. This process ensured the secrecy of the keystone and the clue (likely a map) it contained about the Grail. Saunière is revealed as a Priory Grand Master, just as da Vinci and Isaac Newton were before him.

Langdon and Sophie discuss the various ways the rose is used as a symbol of the sacred feminine. It is found in the Rose Line, the pentacle, as a symbol of womanhood and of Venus. This discussion relates to the theme of sexism and divine female.

Langdon wants to return the keystone to the Priory. However, the four murders tell him that the Priory was "compromised ... there was a mole within [its] ranks." Conspiracy again appears. Langdon thinks some conspirators had infiltrated the Priory to gain access to its secrets. It may be Opus Dei, but Langdon doesn't know yet, so he must keep the keystone to protect it. When he gets to Teabing's house, Langdon has the presence of mind to hide the box and cryptex, which he knows Teabing—a Grail expert—would want to have for himself.

Langdon tells Sophie they should stay with Sir Leigh Teabing, whom Langdon is certain is absolutely trustworthy. In foreshadowing events to come, Langdon dismisses the idea that Teabing is involved with the Priory: "Teabing has spent his life trying to broadcast the truth about the Holy Grail. The Priory's oath is to keep its true nature hidden." The conflict between secrets and truth will play out as the novel progresses.

Teabing spends a good amount of time explaining the Holy Grail, its symbols, and its meaning. He explores several key themes in the book. Teabing explains how the Church deliberately hid the Grail and its truth by promoting lies in a conspiracy to maintain its own power. He explains how the ancient Church twisted or destroyed the truth to create a biased history that favored male dominance of the Church. At the same time it demonized or belittled women and the divine feminine. The Council at Nicaea is identified as a group of men who met in 325 C.E. to vote on what they wanted to be declared the one and only Christian truth. They then sought to lie about, or destroy other truths, especially regarding the divine feminine. The history of Christianity they compiled—the Bible—is a biased history of Christ's life and truth. The sacred feminine, as found in earlier documents, was redefined as something sinful or evil that the Church fought against. This act is another example of official Church sexism. Teabing states, "It was all about power." Anyone who persisted in believing the old truths was persecuted or killed as a heretic. It was, Teabing says, a "tradition of misinformation."

Teabing then explores the motif of the secrets revealed by art. He has Sophie examine some da Vinci reproductions he owns. Da Vinci's paintings are shown to reveal the truth about Christ and the Grail. Among the key symbols Sophie sees in the Last Supper are the chalice (the symbol of the divine feminine) and Mary Magdalene. Teabing astonishes her with the notion that the Grail is not a thing, but a person—Mary Magdalene, as depicted in this painting. "The Holy Grail is a woman," Sophie finally understands, as she recognizes Mary Magdalene on the right hand of Jesus.

Throughout his lecture, Teabing explores the sexism of the Church. Since the year 325 C.E., the Church has demonized womanhood and the divine feminine. This part of his explanation stands in sharp contrast to the truth about the Grail being a woman, as depicted in da Vinci's painting. Teabing affirms that Mary Magdalene was Jesus's wife. The Church presented her as a prostitute to demean her and mislead Christians. It's another lie and example of historical bias used to further the Church's conspiracy to retain power. Later Jesus's disciple Peter is described in an ancient text as being jealous of Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus loved best among all his disciples. On learning this information, Sophie calls Peter "something of a sexist." Remember that Peter founded the Catholic Church.

Teabing makes reference to the motif of obscure language. When referencing the Nag Hammadi manuscripts, he informs Sophie that in Aramaic, the word that has long been translated as meaning "companion" really means "spouse." Thus, when Magdalene is called Jesus's companion in the original, it means Jesus's wife.

This section ends with a reference to blood as a symbol of Christian truth. Teabing shows Sophie the family tree that arose from the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene through their offspring. Their bloodline was royal and their descendants are alive today. Sangreal, another name for the Holy Grail, is shown to be composed of the words sang + real. Sang means "blood"; real means "royal."

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