Bible Secrets Revealed

Bob Cargill shared the following about a documentary which, unless all the footage ended up on the cutting room floor, I will be in:

I’m pleased to announce that a new documentary series will begin airing on History beginning Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:00pm / 9:00 Central.

The series is entitled, Bible Secrets Revealed, and is produced by Prometheus Entertainment for the History channel.

The titles of the six episodes and their schedule of appearance are as follows:

“Lost in Translation” – November 11, 2013
“The Promised Land” – November 18, 2013
“The Forbidden Scriptures” – November 25, 2013
“The Real Jesus” – December 2, 2013
“Mysterious Prophecies” – December 16, 2013
“Sex and the Bible” – December 23, 2013

The documentary features dozens of the world’s top biblical scholars, religious studies scholars, archaeologists, and historians, who offer different points of view while addressing some of the more difficult readings in the biblical and extra-biblical texts.

It is also worth note that portions of the documentary were filmed on site during the 2013 season of archaeological excavation at Tel Azekah.

Please tune in to this documentary, which seeks to address difficult biblical scriptures and teachings in a responsible, academic, yet entertaining manner. The series is certain to be compelling as much for its scholarship as for its examination of secrets buried deep within the biblical texts, that have often traditionally been known only to scholars.

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  • Enopoletus Harding

    is produced by Prometheus Entertainment for the History channel

    Not a good start.

    • MsColleen

      Are you afraid of a critical examination of history, or are you only looking for propaganda supporting your own interpretation?

      I know well the work of two of the scholars interviewed. They are clearly not fundamentalists. Their scholarly work is top notch.

      • Enopoletus Harding

        What kind of question is that? The scholars’ quality does not matter -it’s how the program presents them. If the public receives only a few out-of-context statements used to justify utter nonsense, for purposes of the public’s education, it is just as bad as if those scholars were low-quality.

        • MsColleen

          You still haven’t defended your criticism of Prometheus Entertainment.

          Do I expect fundamentalist Christians to have problems with this series? Definitely. Is the Bible historically accurate? Definitely not. Archaeology alone has revealed countless historical errors.

          Having watched the series so far, I’ve seen nothing that my studies has shown to be blatantly false. Blatantly offensive to fundamentalist Christians? Of course.

          • Ian

            My big problem was the juxtaposition between most of the scholars making pretty reasonable points (I’m sure they would be even better if we got to see more of their interviews unedited – as you say, many of the scholars are very reputable), intercut with the narrator throwing around over hyped rhetorical questions that seem to take very little account of what the actual experts are saying.

            I’m not so worried about fundies – of which Enopoletus is not one! Because the hyped style is easily dismissed out of hand. I’m more worried about History Channel’s more credulous audience listening to the narrator and filling in the conspiracy theory to the implied answers to the narrators questions.

            • beau_quilter

              I agree about the over-hyped narration.

              But the worst mistake of the series so far is that they have yet to feature the most important scholar in pack – James McGrath!

              (Maybe they’re saving the big guns for the end.)

              • James F. McGrath

                I ended up on the cutting room floor. But they may make another season, and if so, who knows what might happen… :-)

              • Enopoletus Harding

                But the worst mistake of the series so far is that they have yet to feature the most important scholar in pack – James McGrath!

                -Thanks for the laugh. You are joking, right?

                • beau_quilter

                  No joke! – I said the most important scholar, not the most publicly hyped scholar.

                  • Enopoletus Harding

                    But what of Goodacre? Pagels? Ehrman?

                    • James F. McGrath

                      I appreciate the compliment, and also the illustration that there are scholars who are better known and have written more in their areas than I have. I don’t think it is a good idea to view scholarship as though it were a competitive sport. :-)

                    • beau_quilter

                      Sure, but how many of those scholars regularly write about the intersections between religion and Doctor Who?

                      Let’s not lose sight of what’s really important here!

                    • MsColleen

                      Ehrman was prominent in all the episodes so far, very prominent! And the series has clearly had an “agenda” that agrees with his scholarship.

            • MsColleen

              My error.

              I’ve consistently encountered fundamentalist Christians who demand that I must respect the Bible as without error, when I have pointed out errors many times, elsewhere. Therefore, because Enopoletus had not given a reason to be critical of Prometheus Entertainment, I had to make some assumption concerning his opposition. Having watched the series so far, I have found that the scholars who have been interviewed were able to make rather clear scholarly statements. Their statements do not appear to be edited out of context.

              And I suspect that if the style hadn’t been quite so hyped, it would have received only initial attention from fundamentalist Christians looking for confirmation of their belief system, then losing those viewers when the series did not live up to their expectations. Therein lies the road to financial failure of this series.

              Thank you for your comment, Ian!

          • Enopoletus Harding

            I’ve only watched a few minutes of it. I’m allergic to video content over twenty minutes in length and reviewing Bible Secrets Revealed is among the least of my priorities at present. Did you click my link?

            • MsColleen

              Sorry. Not being familiar with DISCUS, I didn’t realize the green (who uses green for links? .. DISCUS) was a link.

              Now I understand. I’m not an “Ancient Aliens” true believer either.

              That said, the Bible Secrets Revealed may be rather hyped, but the details – the facts – are pretty accurate to all the archaeology/history of the Bible I’ve studied that isn’t contaminated by orthodox belief. Dr. Bart Erdman is a reputable scholar of the Bible who, through scholarship, lost his “true faith.” He has created several courses for The Great Courses. Dr. Joel Hoffman is a scholar of ancient Greek and Hebrew and writes a good blog on translation where he constantly debunks bad translations.

      • Wayne G.

        If it was top notch then the series would not be riddled with errors. Name a few points you agree with and I’ll show you the errors.

        • MsColleen

          No. You name the errors – without resorting to a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. I’m not going to play games that resort to you demanding that I accept fundamentalist interpretations. If we’re going to discuss the scholarship, make your arguments on scholarship.

          After all, there is no archaeological evidence for any form of an Exodus from Egypt. There is no historical way “Moses” could have written the Pentateuch in Hebrew. The accounts of the occupation of the Promised Land in the books of Joshua and Judges don’t agree, and while the archaeological evidence somewhat supports the Judges account, there is no archaeological evidence for the Joshua account.

  • Jerome

    Will aliens be mentioned?

    • James F. McGrath

      I did manage to work in a mention! :-)

      • beau_quilter

        Excellent! Where’s my TIVO remote …

      • Jerome

        Ah, very good 😀

  • Psiloiordinary

    Any idea on when it will be screened in the UK?

    • James F. McGrath

      No idea. Can you get the History Channel there? If not, then you might need to wait for it to come out on DVD.

      • Psiloiordinary

        Yes of course. But no one watches it apart from Alien hunters, and Americans on holiday!

        I tried the Prometheus site, no luck – I will check out the History channel itself now.

  • Lee Achkar

    So far, I give it a C+ I was very excited to see this program, but found it confusing and getting off the track with its ‘back and forth’ through history, and frankly quite shallow and lacking in depth of information. In 2004 an English theologian and scholar, Robert Beckford, made a documentary titled “Who Wrote The Bilble” which seems to be much better. In less than two hours he systematically goes through solid information (if that sounds boring — let me assure you — it is not) In the History Channel’s production there seems to be a lot of booming voice pronouncements and ominous music — but lack of substance.