To hear the review
To hear the review
The Bible Unearthed is a four-part TV series from 2005 that examines the history of the Bible. How much of it was based on actual events that took place at the time of the Bible’s writing, and how much of it was invented by the people who wrote it. Which is cool for people like me, because I’m fascinated by the origins of religious texts and I find it very interesting to separate fact and fiction when it comes to those texts. It would also be a very interesting DVD for people who are into archaeology, for it is through archaeology that the veracity of Bible verses is ascertained. Not me though. I find archaeology to be extremely boring. Colour me dull (and I won’t blame you) but I prefer watching talking heads.
Thankfully, there are some fascinating talking heads in The Bible Unearthed, out June 23rd from First Run Features. These are the biblical scholars and archaeologists who are so interested in the history of the bible that they have dedicated themselves to archaeological excavations trying to uncover the truth. They have the same curiosity I do, you see, but they are active about it. I, on the other hand, am too lazy to get off my couch and do a bunch of research. So it is very convenient for me and my beer and my bowl of kettle chips that someone else has done the work and the research and the analysis, and broken it down for me.
Now, I watch a lot of stuff like this. Although I am an avowed atheist, I am still utterly mesmerized by all things biblical, and I am always seeking to understand why people believe what they believe, or worship what they worship. But because I watch so many documentaries of this nature, and read so many books about it, there are times where I get pretty tired of Jesus. Just about every movie about religion has to at least mention Jesus (as does Inside The Koran – stay tuned for that review) in passing, if not focusing on him entirely. So it was a surprising revelation to me that The Bible Unearthed had virtually nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever.
Instead, this is an examination mostly of the old testament, and the books from which the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths all emanated. When Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, did he really use trumpets to bring down the walls? Was there even a battle of Jericho? Was there even a city of Jericho, or a larger war where the Israelites conquered Canaan? This is pretty darn interesting stuff. Through excavations of old ruins, archaeologists are able to determine where buildings were burned, where people were killed and where wars were waged. And of course, where they weren’t. They even go so far as to determine which tribes ate pork and which didn’t, and to try to figure out a reason for that.
I would type in all the revelations I learned watching this documentary here – it certainly sparked a long and involved discussion of religious text in my house – because I enjoy talking about this stuff. But I think that if you too enjoy this kind of stuff, it might be worth picking up yourself. And then you can learn that Joshua fought no battle at Jericho, and that Jericho did not even exist in the time of Joshua, and that…oh, just get the DVD.