Who actually wrote the book that millions of people describe as the word of God? Christian theologian Robert Beckford sets off on a voyage of historical discovery through Genesis and beyond to uncover the Bible's complex origins.

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Credited cast:
Robert Beckford ...
Himself - Presenter
Janet Dibley ...
Bible Readings (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edward Adams ...
Paul Bruce ...
Israel Finkelstein ...
Menachem Freed ...
Peter Head ...
Simcha Hochbaum ...
Himself (as Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum)
Nuha Khoury ...
Karen King ...
Israel Knohl ...
Richard Land ...
Alister McGrath ...
Jill Middlemas ...


Who actually wrote the book that millions of people describe as the word of God? Christian theologian Robert Beckford sets off on a voyage of historical discovery through Genesis and beyond to uncover the Bible's complex origins.

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25 December 2004 (UK)  »

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Robert Beckford - Presenter: I'm an Academic Theologian. That means I study the Bible for a living.
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User Reviews

23 February 2008 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

I remember my Sunday School days, and listening to the lessons by whatever instructor we had on that particular Sunday, and being being bored out of my skull, and thinking how great it would be if I could go home and watch that Godzilla movie, or go ride my bike down the street. I wanted to be doing something that was a little more engaging than pasting two plastic pieces together to make a crucifix.

As you might guess I didn't much buy into any of the history established by the bible. That's not to discount a lot of the forward thinking philosophies of how to better treat one's fellow human being that are written therein, but a lot of the stories made me scratch my head. As a historical document, one conveying factual accounts of what happened, the best biblical scholars believe the bible to be hit and miss, though its more ardent supporters will remain staunch in their convictions.

Doctor Robert Beckford tries to approach the authorship and purpose of the bible's writings in a very heartfelt and informative way. He's not seeking the destruction of Christian philosophy, but is in earnest of discovering how the main proliferator of the faith (the Bible itself) came into its present form, and whether there might or might not be something missing, or perhaps has malformed or mishapped the writings of Christianity.

Who was the primary author? Was there more than one author? And if so, then who were they? What were their thoughts? Why did they include certain things and exclude others? Why are some of the passages in the bible seemingly contradictory in terms of authorship? Dr. Beckford, a devout Christian and Theologian, like the devout scholar that he is, searches for the answers. Like an archaeologist trying to piece together fragments of pottery from some ancient civilization, Dr. Beckford asks the experts on the biblical writings what they know, and compares notes.

The result is a very compelling and engaging documentary that takes us from the origins of the first writings scrawled out in the deserts of the Sinai, up through the Roman Empire, to Great Britain, and finally, the United States. The additions, truncations, spin, and various iterations of stories passed down through the generations, are interwoven into what is known, here in the United States, as the "King James".

Questions regarding the exclusion of Mary of Magdalen, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the political and social forces that pushed and pulled against one another to ultimately shape and form the book that we know today, are explored. Not in great depth mind you, but to a degree of thoroughness that allows the viewer to follow with their own pursuits should they find themselves stirred or otherwise motivated to do more research.

Beckford's style is engaging. But more importantly, it is non-judgmental even though Beckford himself, as clearly stated in his program, has his own devout beliefs. It was his goal to help negotiate an understanding between his devout faith and his scholarly side, and to share that with millions more who struggle with the same questions regarding the fashioning of the bible, and the issues that arise from some of its more puzzling aspects. In this, Dr. Beckford has achieved his goal with flying colors.

Whether you're a devout believer or an atheistic cynic, this program is for you. Whether you're a Christian, Muslim, Jew, or even Hindu, Shinto, Wiccan, or pursue some other deity, this program will allow you to see for yourself the fascinating story behind the creation of the bible. It will educate the viewer, and will help shed light on issues that Christians and non-Christians alike struggle with when it comes to their faith.

Enjoy :-)

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