It's presented by a guy (Arne Kislenko) who says he's a historian. For all I know he may even be one, I can't verify his credentials.
For a historian he seems to be very relaxed about the very open possibility that the person from the title, Jesus of Nazareth, may have never existed, as no historical data, other than the Gospels, confirmed his existence. No public record, no mention of him in contemporary work, no archaeological artifacts that can be easily tied to him. Not even in the biblical writings outside the Gospels is Jesus mentioned as anything more than an imaginary deity. I'm citing other historians, of course.
This one, though, very easily tosses around sentences like "truly a miracle", "noble deed", "Jesus this", "Jesus that" - for a guy that may not be real in the first place. Hardly a scientific approach.
Objective scientific language is full of caution and not easily accessible to laymen, so I was willing to give Mr. Kislenko a benefit of a doubt, assuming he wished to avoid burdening his presentation with words such as "allegedly", "may have", "uncertain" etc. But he took this a bit too far. And when he practically advertised scientific studies confirming "power of prayer" while only mentioning that "*some* were disputing them" - he removed all doubt. This is a propaganda. Studies on power of prayer have been heavily, not slightly - heavily, disputed, and for the right reasons, because experimental science is an extremely taxing discipline, as it should be. Experimental designs, if not heavily scrutinized, can be a slippery slope for a researcher eager to reach some conclusions. Research on prayer is full of slippery slopes. But you won't hear that in this series. And lets not kid ourselves - it's all a lie. Any effect of a prayer is grounded in simple auto-suggestion. Because, when you consider millions of daily prayers on part of religious people versus only a handful of positive outcomes - you don't need a scientific study to tell you prayer is a waste of time. And, mind you, if you believe in a god that knows everything in advance and it's his will that is exercised in the end ("thy will be done", right?) - what's the point of praying anyway?
But I just named one example of faults I've found watching this - there are more and all are related to taking the Bible way too literally.
Otherwise, it looked to be a noble attempt of shedding light on day-to- day living in Israel in those ancient times. I don't really mind that privately financed TV-shows offer different opinions, even if they are plainly wrong. I don't mind they are being aired on privately funded TV- stations. But I wish, as a viewer and a history buff, to see objective or at least balanced reports on historical periods, and I found they are pretty scarce nowadays on channels that pretend to be about history. In my opinion, the purpose of history and historiography is to dismantle common lore about past people and events and use all the means available to reexamine them and tell the real story, however unpleasant or banal or politically dangerous it might be. The purpose of this show was to reinforce the myths and that's the job of mythology, not history.
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