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All Three Episodes of The BBC’s “The Bible’s Buried Secrets” on Documentary Storm

April 11, 2011

All three episodes of the recent BBC production The Bible’s Buried Secrets, hosted by Dr Francesca Starakopoulou can be viewed at Documentary Storm.

Episode 1: Did King David’s Empire Exist?

Episode 2: Did God Have a Wife?

Episode 3: The Real Garden of Eden

The Bible's Buried Secrets - All Three Episodes on DocumentaryStorm DocumentaryStorm has posted all three episodes of the recent BBC production The Bible’s Buried Secrets, hosted by Dr Francesca Starakopoulou of the University of Exeter. Episode 1: Did King David’s Empire Exist? A national hero and icon for the Jewish people, and a divine king for Christians, David is best known as the boy-warrior who defeated the Philistine giant Goliath. As king, he united the tribes of Israel. But did he really rule over a vas … Read More

via Remnant of Giants

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Josh Mueller permalink
    April 11, 2011 3:13 pm

    I just finished watching episode 1. One thing I didn’t understand is the correlation between observed population densities in the area and the lack of evidence of 10th century structures which would match the Biblical account of Davidic and Solomonic empires. If the carbon dating of the pottery points to the 9th century instead, what would have caused a dramatic increase in population within just a hundred years to support the building of these later structures? And who exactly IS accordingly responsible for the parallel design of city gates over a widespread area? I didn’t really hear those questions addressed (maybe I missed it, help me out here!). It seems to me that the political link to the present was the only relevant question to be explored and once the traditional evidence was debunked as such, the explanation of the 9th century archeological data was left to the imagination of competing scholarly theories.

  2. Josh Mueller permalink
    April 11, 2011 3:55 pm

    After doing some more digging regarding reactions to the program, I came across this review – and I concur with many of the questions raised there:

  3. Josh Mueller permalink
    April 11, 2011 4:14 pm

    I also would encourage everyone to consider Starakopoolou’s own attempt to appear objective as a dispassionate scholar as opposed to a biblical record with an intent to write revisionist history. A truly dispassionate scholarly treatment of the material would have simply maintained that much of the unearthed data remains ambigious at this point. Here is another good review:

  4. Josh Mueller permalink
    April 11, 2011 6:44 pm

    Well, since no one else is commenting so far, I guess I’ll have to run the risk of appearing as just an angry troll, but after watching part 2, I have to honestly say that I feel like my (admittedly limited) intelligence is being insulted by her Dan Brownesque “explosive” revelations of deliberate cover-up attempts in the Bible regarding Ashera worship. I mean, seriously, Scott – did you actually watch her consistently turning pure conjctures into more or less accepted “facts” before you posted the link with no comments of your own?

    This is not much better than the fundamentalist apologetic clips that occasionally appear on your blog and deservedly are being ridiculed. Are you honestly suggesting this is serious scholarship? Let her make up her mind whether monotheism is a misrepresentation of actual historical material and accordingly a falsification of the true worship of ancient Israel (which turns out to be indeed not a masterful but lousy attempt of 6th century scribes) or the texts themselves accurately present what we’ve known all along: Ashera was not only known but also worshipped. No cover up, exactly the opposite. Theological intentionality and judgment in the texts does not equal theologically motivated falsification of facts.

    • April 11, 2011 10:38 pm

      That the biblical text should be studied like any other ancient document is accepted practice for secular historical scholars and very popular in European scholarship. That ancient ‘Israel’ was not always monotheistic should be obvious from the polemical material concerning Baal and the observance that was given to that God by those in Israel/Judah.

      The main difficulty is that so much biblical scholarship is built on a large set of shared context. For the HB there is the Documentary Hypothesis; the ANE setting and mythic parallels; apocalypticism; pre-exilic Judah and post-exilic Yehud; endogamy and exogamy; prophetic literature; Psalms; wisdom literature; and on and on and on. Furthermore, the arguments made in a brief episode are also reflective of much longer works and studies comprising hundreds of pages. And finally, as others pointed out, there are scholars who represent a wide range of interpretive views on almost any issue. To synthesize this in 45 minutes without a few ‘holes’ would be impossible for any scholar representing their views on a particular issue; biblical studies doesn’t translate perfectly for the medium.

      Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the jump from methodological conclusions to more philosophical speculations concerning religion, but it’s a TV show, so I give it a little bit of a break.

      In a world where Jersey Shore exists, I’ll take any biblical studies on my TV I can. Heck, I’ll even watch the Naked Archaeologist and his ham-fisted abuse of the discipline!

      • Josh Mueller permalink
        April 12, 2011 9:57 am

        Of course the biblical text should be studied like any other ancient document – with the same scrutiny and the same dose of healthy scepticism. This is not the problem. The problem is that for the sake of making something appear as an astounding new revelation, the opinion of some scholars and one possible way of connecting the dots is presented as objective while others are portrayed as being blinded by their doctrinal bias. And the jump to philosophical conclusions likewise is not presented as one of many possible ways the texts may influence current political and social currents but as a necessary consequence of the evidence. And this is total hogwash of course. Whether David actually did unite North and South and had control over a wider landmass gives no real legitimacy to any land claims today. The same can be said about the question whether Ashera was worshipped as a mother goddess and any implications for our understanding of maleness/femaleness in the image of God.

  5. April 12, 2011 1:29 pm

    I just started watching the videos and since I’m not a scholar I have a question for my elders and betters on this blog.

    One thing she said in the first episode really bugged me. She very confidently claimed that according to the Bible, the Philistines were barbaric and backward. Like I said, I don’t have her credentials but that just seems obviously false to me. Sure, we often call uncultured people “philistines” but that’s us, not the Bible. As I recall the relevant scriptures, the Philistines were clearly shown as far more advanced than the Israelites. For one thing (and it’s a pretty big thing) the Philistines had blacksmiths and could work iron while the Hebrews could not. In the David & Goliath story for instance the entire Hebrew army had only one set of armor, that’s why they tried to put the Saul’s armor on David.

    If I’m wrong about that I’m open to correction though. That’s why I come to this blog after all, to learn things.


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