Ancient Evince - Mysteries of Jesus
Leonard J. Gleeson | Bayswater, Victoria Australia | 01/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
The first part of this collection is about King Herod, and his infamous 'slaughter of the innocents' at Bethlehem. It's very well done, and Herod is accurately portrayed as a brutal despot. The only evidence against the 'slaughter' ever happening is that it's only mentioned in St. Matthew's Gospel, and no other ancient source, Biblical or otherwise. But then it's at last revealed that the actual number of children involved was at most 20, which would have been insignificant for a savage king like Herod, so that all the modern analysis comes together as being fully consistent with the Gospel account.
The 2'nd part. the 'Real Disciples of Jesus', is not so great, being much better done in Melvyn Bragg's earlier TV mini-series "The Apostles"; it tries to use modern forensic science where it can't really fit. Also, it assumes Jesus' miracles to be 'faith-healing', which doesn't really explain his feeding the multitude with a few loaves and fishes, or turning water into wine, or calming the storm, etc.
The 3'rd part, 'Who killed Jesus?' seems incongruous at first, but actually manages to blend the ancient accounts with modern forensics in a way that makes for good viewing.
The final part, about Mary Magdalene, is not bad, but again it was better done in Melvyn Bragg's series. It's good to see Mary's name cleared from the medieval notion that she was a woman of ill repute, but this probably goes too far the other way, giving undue emphasis to the so-called 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene'. That 'gospel' was probably written a century after Mary, by a woman trying to further her own career, not Jesus' message.