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From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians
From Jesus to Christ The First Christians
Actor: William Cran
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2004     4hr 0min

Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 09/23/2005


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Movie Details

Actor: William Cran
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Television, Religion
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 4hr 0min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Clear Images of Early Christianity
W. Easley | Colorado Rocky Mountains | 05/16/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"From Jesus to Christ" is a four hour DVD about Jesus, His Disciples, and the Christians of early Christianity. It is written and produced by PBS and focuses upon what scholars have learned through exhaustive research about the life and times of early Christianity.

This DVD is divided into four parts, each about hour in length. Each part presents actual photographs of the extant sites mentioned in scriptures, such as Jerusalem, Corinth, the Dead Sea, and Rome. Each part presents interviews with leading scholars who specialize in the historical period and scriptures, such as professors from Ivy League Universities, and Theological Schools.

Part I Presents the culture and times of Jesus, the coming of Jesus, the characteristics of Jesus and His place in History. It details the Temple and presents computer generated images of how it would have been in the time of Jesus.

Part II Includes Paul's travels (especially Corinth and Ephessis), beliefs in the Second Coming, Pentecost, the mission of Disciples, and defining the Church.

Part III Discussed events after the Resurrection of Jesus, the Jewish revolt, the battle of Messada, and the destruction of Jerusalem. In addition the scholars discuss the writing of the Gospels, presents the essence of each Gospel, compares the Gospels, and examines the separate paths taken by Jews and Christians.

Part IV - Presents Paganism and its beliefs within the societies of ancient civilization, it especially discusses the prominence of "religion" in Roman life and the challenge that Christianity gave to its tenets. We view great images and details of Rome and its buildings and institutions. It shows the Coptic scrolls and its books.

Much of the emphasis of the DVD is upon the everyday people of the time and the historical and archeological data related to that period. As such it presents no new theological insights but does spark the biblical story to life and stimulate the readers imagination and understanding of the life and times of Jesus and the early Christian church.

I highly recommend "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians", especially for those interested in studying the Scriptures.

Too subjective and lacking supporting evidence
Steve Ink | San Jose, California United States | 04/20/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The film had some good points, but it was filled with conclusions for which no archeological, historical or linguistic evidence were presented. The conclusions appeared to be based on pure subjectivity. I found myself over and over again asking "What leads you to that conclusion?" For instance, one speaker said "Most historian think Jesus was born and raised in Nazareth." Not one piece of evidence was given to lead to a conclusion that Jesus was born in Nazareth, unless it was the fact that he was raised in Nazareth. Must one conclude Jesus was born in Nazareth, contrary to all the historical writings, simply because he was raised in Nazareth? One speaker said the early church constructed language that John predicted the coming of Jesus so that the church could explain the relationship between the two. The speaker gives no historical, archeological or linguistic evidence to support this conclusion. One of the speakers inferred that the resurrection was added after the Gospel of Mark was written because the earliest version of Mark does not have any resurrection appearances. But the earliest version of Mark ends with the empty tomb, which would appear to imply a resurrection - especially in light of Mark 8:31 where the resurrection is expressly foretold. Additionally the Apostle Paul wrote about the resurrecion prior to the writing of Mark. So what leads the speakers in this film to reach a conclusion that the resurrection was added by later writers? The film lacked the kind of evidentiary support I would have liked to have seen."
Wonderful insights
Bible Belt Unbuckler | North Carolina | 08/29/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm not from a Christian background but have always been interested in organized religions and the hold which their dogma has on billions of people. This doesn't mean I don't believe in God--I do. That is, I believe in an intelligent and loving Source of Life. My belief, however, doesn't need a story book to back it up, since it comes from within myself.

I'm sure that conservative Christians would claim I can't rely on my inner sense, since I'm "fallen," and everything about my own perceptions is suspect. Yet, when they've attempted to evangelize me, they aim directly at my own perceptions to both "convict" me and convert me. For after all, what else could they aim at?

The other irony: they always try to prove to me that Christianity is "true." At which point, I immediately inform them that they're going to hell. When they ask why, I reply that, according to their own beliefs, salvation is by faith alone, and you can only have faith in something that you can't know is true, otherwise it wouldn't be "faith." Thus, by their trying to prove Christianity is true, they're going beyond faith alone, and so they're damned.

Somehow, in all of their talk, I sense that the original Jesus is missing, replaced by a blond, blue-eyed "Christ." That's why this PBS series was so informative to me. As for its being "unbalanced" (i.e., by leaving out conservative Christian input), sorry, an apologist is not an unbiased scholar. From what I can tell by their credentials, most of the scholars represented here are practicing Christians. But in that arena, they're acting purely on faith alone, and they have no need to brush away historical findings. (Obviously, *they're* not going to hell.) Elaine Pagels, for one, has an abiding faith in Christianity, according to one of her books.

Thanks to PBS for another great contribution to reasoned understanding."
Santa Claus
slow glass | Big Spring, TX United States | 09/27/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I read all the reviews here, and just like so many other videos and books on religion, it's the same old thing. People acting as six year olds in elementary school having the classic playground argument on whether Santa Claus exists or not. No, I'm not an atheist. I took the long way around to discovering that I'm a believer in God, and Jesus Christ. But I didn't just automatically adopt what others told me to think. My search began sometime ago with an almost agnostic doubt, and although there is no absolute proof that Christ was anything more than a human being, and possibly historical figure, I have found my faith and will live with it, for that is what faith is...believing without proof.

That being said, I found From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians to be a very good look into the "historicity" of Jesus and his original followers and how the early movement developed into a worldwide following. Because there is so little true historical documentation besides sacred scripture, this program like so many similar efforts must make some conjecture based on the few historical things We Know occurred and are verifiable from other historical accounts (mostly from the Romans and Jews of the period). The New Testament in and of itself has to be called into some doubt as far as an historical source because it simply contradicts itself at times. Locations, events and who was there differ greatly from Mark to Matthew to Luke. That is simple fact. Read your Bible. This program addresses that issue without demeaning the whole, I believe.

The problem is, there are so many different belief systems today within modern Christianity, it would be impossible to get everybody on the same page as to what went down 2,000 years ago. We can't agree on what happened last week. And people have their own Santa belief system so when someone comes along and throws in cold hard facts, the egg nog goes a little off.

I highly recommend this PBS documentary to anyone who is searching for some truth mixed with their reindeer. I'm not saying the show has it all right. It doesn't convey or profess that it does. But it offers some very good insight as to what may have happened and how difficult the culture of the time really (historically) was, and not how 19th and 20th century artists have painted it for us as children.

While shining some light in dark corners, the beauty of From Jesus to Christ is that it portrays the mystery of the whole thing as just that: Beautiful and mysterious. That an empire that executed the leader of an insignificant band of his followers could eventually be dominated by their philosophy is at least an uncanny irony. That God "works in mysterious ways", is an absolute truth.

Watch and enjoy (and maybe learn), and don't let it ruin your day if you don't agree with everything portrayed within. Your preacher doesn't agree with everything your friend's preacher says, so chill. :)"