Whether you believe that the Bible is directly from the mouth of God, divinely inspired, or simply a literary masterwork, there is no doubt that its narratives have been studied by scholars and schoolchildren, religious professionals and lay people for centuries. New meanings, hidden truths and ideas can be gleaned from the ancient stories, and are simply there for the taking. The words and ideas contained in the texts have shaped western history for generations.
The History Channel’s Mysteries of the Bible Collection explores these familiar texts in new ways, revealing facts and theories about the people and of The Book, their times and their stories. It presents a fascinating and well-produced examination of the most widely read book in the human experience.
The series makes the ancient tales come alive, giving context to the ancient texts, spanning from the earliest chapters of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) through the rest of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Enhanced by classical paintings of Biblical personalities, beautiful photography, and the analysis of well-known and respected biblical scholars, Mysteries presents viewers with deep background on the places and times in which these well-known stories unfolded.
Filmed on location in the Holy Land, and narrated by Richard Kiley and Jean Simmons, the seven-DVD set features the original 22 full-length episodes and several “extras.” My only disappointment with Mysteries is that it doesn’t follow the Bible chronologically. The first volume, for example jumps from Abraham (one of the first stories in the Torah) to Herod, two millennia later (given that Biblical time is subject to debate, and part of the Christian, but not Jewish, Bible.) The next episode on the first DVD jumps back to the Ten Commandments, another early story in the Biblical canon. This is not as much of an issue in the later volumes, which are more topical in nature.