Some months ago I had the pleasure of working with several of the producers of a new series for the History Channel provocatively titled “Bible History Revealed” commissioned by Prometheus Entertainment, the rather fascinating brain-child of Kevin Burns of which and about whom you can read more here. My interview ran for three hours as we zipped through the gamut of topics for the six programs covering A-Z with questions such as the following:
What did it mean to be a prophet? What was the purpose of these prophecies?
Why was Daniel not included in the Prophets section of the Bible?
What is the historical place of the book of Enoch?
What was a messiah?
What message did John the Baptist preach?
Were John the Baptist and Jesus at one time considered rival prophets?
Did Jesus see himself as a divine being?
What is the message in The Book of Revelation?
How do Jews, Christians and Muslims view the afterlife?
What was the most surprising secret revealed by the Dead Sea Scrolls?
How has the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls affected Biblical translations and history?
What does the Gabriel Stone say that might indicate a suffering messiah figure predating Jesus?
Why was the Ark of the Covenant so important and what about all the theories as to what happened to it and its possible current whereabouts?
What needs to happen for the Promised Land and End of Days prophecies to be fulfilled?
How has the Bible been misinterpreted in modern society?
Many dozens of my friends and colleagues were also brought into this six part series with similar questions, but tailored to their particular areas of expertise. Bob Cargill gives a partial list of participants here, as well an updated list of the six shows with their air dates here. All episodes air at 10 pm Eastern/9 pm Central:
“LOST IN TRANSLATION” – Nov 13, 2013
“THE PROMISED LAND” – Nov 20, 2013
“THE FORBIDDEN SCRIPTURES” – Nov 27, 2013
“THE REAL JESUS” – Dec 4, 2013
“MYSTERIOUS PROPHECIES”- Dec 11, 2013
“SEX AND THE SCRIPTURES” – Dec 18, 2013
Those of us who have done lots of these sorts of interviews know that of the hours we talk about nearly everything under the sun only a tiny fraction of what we say ends up getting used. I think this is fine as an overall method as it allows the producers and editors to take in the whole range of views and opinions on these controversial topics and the selectively try to represent the depth and breadth of scholarly views. Diversity in this case is a virtue not a vice. It is good for the public to understand that our field of “Christian Origins” in particular is a complex one with a variety of critical methods of inquiry that come into play in what we broadly call the “academic study of religions.” I think this promises to be a good series and I recommend it to my readers–if for nothing else than a nice overview of the diversity of academic positions and opinions.