Digging into… Three Archaeology Films (1)

1 – The Bible Unearthed: The Making of a Religion, Episode 1

You’ll note that I didn’t post anything yesterday. Just when I thought I was past a mysterious ailment it seemed to come back. This time affecting more my head than my stomach. It was a challenging day because conventional headache medicine does little for me and occludes my mind so much that I cannot do anything at all. However, I managed during the less severe periods to watch an archaeology video. And today, feeling somewhat but not fully better, I watched two more.

Because I’m still not 100% I’ll keep my review brief. That’s one reason. The other being is that I know very little about archaeology, so my comments must be limited to common sense sans details.

So the first film was a French production. Keeping in mind that I watched this on the worst day of my ailment, it is quite possible that my reaction was unduly influenced by my internal state.

Having said that, I found myself pausing this video several times. To me, it seemed stronger on style and weaker on substance. Far too many long shots of the researcher walking wistfully among the ruins and far too few closeup shots of any exciting finds. If seeing the interior of dusty old libraries is your thing, you might like this. Otherwise, I’d say put it third on your list of the three I will review in the next few days.

Personally, I didn’t find anything too earthshattering here. I had already known that the Old Testament is most likely a mishmash of stories replete with anachronisms and other inconsistencies. Put simply, religious history and archaeological history are two different things—a point which the video treats in an arguably one-sided manner.

If the Old Testament is just another myth, why is the Bible usually cited as the best selling book of all time?

When I read the OT I don’t switch off my rational-scientific side. But I do suspend it. If we read the Bible from a secular standpoint, its religious effect will probably not reach us. If, however, we bracket our rational-scientific mind and just read the OT, then God will have a better chance of reaching into us while doing so. Later on, we can reflect, look up points, and so on. Actually, while reading on my tablet I do that whenever I want to learn more about a particular name, place or event. Just Google it and there you are… pics and all.

My point is, reading the Bible from a purely secular standpoint might help us write a novel or look smart. But if we don’t open up to its religious aspects, we might miss the point.

I had hoped to review all three videos today. But not yet fully recovered, I’ll stop for now.*

* Videos 2 and 3 now reviewed here.

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