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The Christians
The Christians
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
NR     2009     11hr 14min

The HISTORY of Christianity and its GLOBAL IMPACT Over the last two millennia, Jesus of Nazareth--an itinerant Jewish preacher who was publicly executed--impacted history more than any other human being. Once a persecuted...  more »


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Movie Details

Creator: Bamber Gascoigne
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Documentary
Studio: Athena
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/03/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 11hr 14min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 09/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD set consists of 13 episodes each about 52 minutes and is designed as a historical experiencing through the ages of how the Christian faith came about. It establishes historical differences and common beliefs/associations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians--such as how Jerusalem was negotiated to be the "City of Three Religions."

This documentary, originally aired in 1977, is hosted by Bamber Gascolgne, British, who has several historical documentaries to his credit as well as dozens of books. Occasionally, his presentations, and awkward smiles, suggest a sarcastic or jesting tone when dealing with points of religious fervor. He seems not to have a personal faith (although that is not stated). To be fair, Gascolgne states in the beginning that Christianity is a "faith"--not provable, but also not disprovable.

Christianity from all eras beginning with the first century AD is considered, with highlighted experiences predominantly dedicated to the bizarre and unusual activity of peoples claiming to be Christian. These include rich/poor, all manner of nationalities, all races, and minor groups such as Amish, monks, emperors, Zealots, Calvinists, Pilgrims, Orthodox, Protestants, and with a main focus on the Roman Catholics. That is somewhat explained because the general religion title of Christian covers slightly over 33% of the world's 2007 population, with Roman Catholic being 51% of that group.

The intent was neither affirmation, nor condemnation of Christianity as a religion; instead it is an outside-looking-in educational and historical study of the people, from rulers to the most common of men and women who claimed Christianity as their own. There will be some Christians who may take some offense since the included parts tend toward more of the controversial aspects. Soup kitchens, free clinics, mercy hospital ships, disaster relief, and other more positive Christian activities are focused on. Why?

The DVDs explain some of the political events and factions that had an extreme impact on this 2000+ year old faith, as well as changes that were caused. Sometimes these events caused huge swellings of the faithful ranks. The set explains some of the broad differences between countries and people groups--different beliefs--but all professing under the same heading of "Christian."

The filming takes place in 30 country locations, making it quite the religious travelogue. It also contains a vast assortment of fine art from sculpture, painting, mosaics, and religious artifacts, as well as architecture. Many of these fine art pieces are owned by Christian religious facilities. From Michelangelo to the craftsmen of the periods, you will enjoy the arts.

The narrator's words are subtitled, helpful when the narrator's British accented pronunciation is different than common, American, English usage.

The beginning of a conclusion for the set is of struggles and works in a Christian church of Poland (officially an atheist country) in 1977. That's followed by San Gimigrano in Tuscany (Italy, town of medieval towers.) The town has a 30-year split between Christian and Communist politicians. Communist's there are felt to be more honest, in that power struggle.

The host also ended by stating that he "read the entire New Testament straight through ... and found it impossible to believe that someone coming to it for the first time would find a clear impression of what Christ or Christianity had stood for." He felt any religious message could be interpreted and produced--and thus, he has reported HIS OWN. Some will object at his style, at what he includes to represent Christianity, and also for what was left unreported. But then, how can you fairly summarize Christianity in 674 minutes that has taken over 2000 years to evolve?
Historically enlightening but it probably will not win Christian converts. What's the Pope's opinion?

I am a Christian. I believe in Christ as the Messiah. This DVD did not hinder nor help my faith. As the narrator stated, he proved nothing, nor disproved anything as well.

G. M. Wagner | LOMPOC, CA USA | 01/25/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

""THE CHRISTIANS" leaves out the entire Eastern Church except for Russian Orthodoxy! There are many Eastern Rite Catholics (who are in communion with Rome) as well as many Eastern Orthodox, with their own Patriarchs (very like the Pope). Even Early Christianity is given short shrift. There are the many early Councils that defined the nature of Christ: both human and divine; the role of Mary and the saints in the Church; the nature of the Sacraments; the Bible, including (very importantly) which books of both the Old and New Testaments that would be allowed.
Bamber (the author) does a good job in explaining Protestantism, but leaves out the Catholic Counter-Reformation, when the Roman Catholic Church reformed itself in the seventeenth century.
I know that religion is very different for Europeans since they fought and killed each other over it for centuries. In the United States, we are not burdened with this terrible past so we can worship (or not) with a freedom that the people from the "Old World" cannot seem to. In fact, I've been told that the only people who go to church in Europe are American tourists! One can understand how much this awareness of past European religious history is in evidence by watching and listening to Bamber who is British (at least he has a British accent and knows the history of religion in Great Britain, particularly Methodism, which he dwells on in the series).
I wish that someone would do a complete and balanced history of Christianity (which would have more that 5 DVD's, I can assure you)!"