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December 16, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Quick Review of PBS’s Documentary: From Jesus to Christ: the First Christians

I recently watched a significant segment of the 2 hour “From Jesus to Christ: the First Christians” which is a documentary produced by Frontline for PBS. Its generally pretty good (at least what I saw), and draws on scholarly work and commentary. The documentary includes the following Biblical and history scholars:

• Harold W. Attridge, The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at Yale Divinity School
• Elizabeth Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Director of the Graduate Program in Religion Duke University
• Shaye I.D. Cohen, Samuel Ungerleider Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University
• John Dominic Crossan, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies DePaul University
• Paula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University
• Holland Lee Hendrix, President of the Faculty at Union Theological Seminary
• Helmut Koester, John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School
• Wayne A. Meeks, Woolsey Professor of Biblical Studies at Yale University
• Eric Meyers, Professor of Religion and Archaeology Duke University

The documentary also includes:
• Elaine H. Pagels, The Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion Princeton University
• L. Michael White, who PBS says is “One of the nation’s foremost religion scholars” and “He received his Ph.D. and master of divinity degrees from Yale University”

I’m not sure how the writings of these folks is. Its also interesting to note that only one seminarian is included in the scholars who are featured. Arguably, for the atheist or agnostic…this would provide more “credibility” or objectivity to the documentary.

Here is the site map for PBS’s Jesus documentary (think of it like a table of contents)

I don’t know how the documentary speaks to the issue of the Gnostic Gospels, like the Gospel of Thomas, which are not included in the New Testament and read almost nothing like the other New Testament books. For instance, they might have the temporal flavor of the times, but just dramatically different in overall and as I recall almost an entirely different genre.

Please feel free to leave your reviews of the documentary in the comments section or your assessment of the scholars included.

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