Worth watching but relies far too much on apocryphal texts
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 07/10/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There seems to be a fundamental weakness in the A&E Biography series of early Christians: a serious over-reliance on apocryphal texts. I do not know why this is; I can only imagine that the Bible does not contain enough facts for the series writers and so they go where "facts" are plentiful - much of the material in this video is taken from The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, the Protevangelion, and the Infancy narratives. This is a sticky issue because some believers accept these writings as factual, but Protestants such as myself do not put any credence whatsoever into these apocryphal texts. I will give credit to the writers for letting us know which texts they are relying upon at different points in the presentation, though - that was certainly not done in the A&E Biography video of Mary Magdalene. Still, it causes a problem with many viewers; at least half of the material in this video comes from apocryphal texts: the Immaculate Conception of Mary (meaning she was borne without the stain of Original Sin), details about the childhood of Mary, the Assumption of Mary into heaven - all things that are not to be found in my Bible. The video certainly has its good points along with its bad ones. It does a very good job of emphasizing the scandalous nature of a pregnancy out of wedlock in those times - it could legally result in the woman being stoned to death for her sin. It emphasizes the toil, struggle, and humble nature of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem - in her final month of pregnancy, Mary had to travel the eighty miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, only to be denied shelter and forced to give birth to the Messiah in a lowly stable or cave. It pays tribute to her love and devotion to her son, praises the courage she must have shown in dealing with her community's gossip and even disdain for her and her firstborn child, points out the fact that she may well have become a widow while Jesus was in his teens, having to care for Jesus as well as her later children (born to her and Joseph) all by herself after that point, and reminds us just how cut off she was from Jesus once He began His work. She may well have never heard Jesus' assertions that he would be killed yet arise in three days; the disciples, even if they didn't believe it at the time, had at least heard this promise to them. One can not even imagine the grief she must have felt as she watched Jesus die a horrifying death on the cross.A lot of good Biblical material is included in this presentation, but I just think there are far too many "facts" that come along for the ride. I daresay many a Protestant will have never even heard of some of the "facts" to be found in this video. I might add, however, that it never gets into the business of the different churches and their beliefs concerning the Virgin Mary; there's no discussion of the sainthood of Mary or the visions of Mary that have been reported on a number of occasions. The story starts at the birth of Mary and ends with her "death" (or, as some believe, Assumption); it provides good insight into the life of a girl in the Nazareth of the pre-Christian era; and it pays respect to a remarkably courageous, pious young woman who followed the will of the Lord throughout her life. The video also features a number of beautiful, inspirational art works of Mary. It is well worth watching, but I much prefer to rely on the Bible alone for the definitive biography of the mother of Christ."
Thoughtfully put together and delivered
Christi J. Hill | TN Tennessee | 03/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful show for even the most devout Christian. It chronicles the life of Mary and talks about some of the less certain aspects of her life. Anyone of dedicated religious committment will not feel threatened by this video, but instead the enlightened person will open mindedly embrace this inquisitive, sensitive documentary about one of the world's most influential women. Those fundamentalist or radicle persons who might object to any type of historical account and inquiry of anything biblical might not be of the character to understand such a discussion, but for the person interested in learning and active dialogue, this is an excellent film with wonderful historical accounts."
Good Bio of Mary!
Lili | USA | 05/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a very good and interesting biography of Mary the mother of Jesus. You learn more about her, her life. I recommanded it to anyone who want to know more about her!"