Mysteries of the Bible Collection
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Mysteries of the Bible travels back in time to the Holy Land to investigate the Bible's most fascinating mysteries.
Lost Cities of the Bible:
National Geographic examines evidence to shed new light on cities said to have been destroyed by the hand of God.
Doomsday: Book of Revelation:
National Geographic explores the Book of Revelation to see if there is more to it than prophecy.
The Truth Behind the Dead Sea Scrolls:
Experts unravel the mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and explore theories about their creation.
Secret Lives of Jesus:
Examine the mysterious lost stories of Christ and explore the fundamental questions surrounding the ancient texts.
Examine the greatest escape in history-how Moses and the Israelites fled enslavement with the parting of the Red Sea.
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The first episode of "Lost Cities of the Bible" (Jericho, Sodom, Gomorrah) focuses on naturalistic explanations for the famous destruction of these three ancient towns reported in the Bible. The second episode, "Doomsday: Book of Revelation," explores a bit of the historical context of the Bible beyond the usual prophecy nonsense that emerges from fundamentalist Christian circles. The other episodes are "The Truth Behind the Dead Sea Scrolls," "Secret Lives of Jesus" on the gnostic gospels, and "Exodus Revealed" on the scientific and historical plausibility of the Red Sea crossing led by Moses.
My only major qualm with the collection, causing me to knock a star off of my rating, is that it fails to emphasize the most accurate exegetical interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Instead of prioritizing the sober research of people who recognize Revelation as a piece of resistance literature written during Roman persecution of Christians, the episode on this book gives equal screen time to crackpot theories about the end of the world. If this legitimizing of evangelical end times theology is a sop to popular tastes, then it's a sop of the most toxic kind. For me, the revelation video offset my enjoyment of the other two documentaries.
In my search for appropriate classroom videos on scripture, I've seen a lot of garbage documentaries that are deadly dull, but these programs are among the best and fastest-moving of any I've seen. The production quality is high and there is no anti-religious or pro-religious agenda, but merely a respectful treatment of religious subjects from historical and scientific perspectives. If the dullest Bible videos come from PBS and A&E, and the most entertaining films from History Channel, then Nat Geo is a good mix of classy scholarship with modern visual techniques. Like current History Channel stuff, it's also extremely fair to Judaism and Christianity, refraining from the anti-religious crackpots who sometimes appear on other documentaries in favor of serious archaeologists and historians. I highly recommend these videos for anyone who wants a strictly even-handed perspective on the human dimension of famous biblical texts.
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