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Serials - Banned from the Bible
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# Title Date Subjects
1 Banned from the Bible I. 12/25/2006  
2 Banned from the Bible II.    

Banned from the Bible
Season 1, Episode 1
12/25/2006 - "two-hour world premiere"
1:30:37 without commercials at documentaryaddict.
Cable version (2:01:10) is slightly different.


  • John Dominic Crossan, Author, Excavating Jesus.
  • Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
  • V. Rev. Fr. John Bakas, St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Los Angeles
  • Father Bertrand Buby, S.M., International Marian Research Institute,
    • Dayton, Ohio
  • Dr. David Scholer, New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Daniel Smith-Christopher, Ph.D., Prof of Religious Studies, Bluffton College
  • Dr Stephen Breck Reid, Bethany Theological Seminary [bald, black goatee]
  • Dr James Vanderkam, Notre Dame University
  • Amir Hussain, Ph.D., California State University, Northridge, CA [Muslim]
  • Kelley Coblentz Bautch, Religious Studies, St. Edward's University
  • Kirsti Barrett Copeland, Ph.D., Religion, Princeton University
  • Anthea D. Butler, Ph.D., Global Christianity, Loyola Marymount University
Narrator 1: Edward Herrmann (1943-2014)
Narrator 2: Christopher Nissely
w/James Karen & Maggie Soboil as "The Voice of History"
Gnostics, under Marcion, prompted the first Bible.
  • Marcion was a wealthy shipper.
  • He published the first NT.
  • The OT god was evil, not the god of this NT of his.
  • Luke's Gospel (all OT references deleted) and letters of Paul.
  • The Orthodox were horrified by Gnostic beliefs.
  • An opponent said, "Shame on Marcion, eraser."
  • Another said, "You are the firstborn of Satan."
Arias vs. Athanasius
  • Nicene Creed.
  • Eusebius lists 18 books.
More details about the Creation? (16:00)

* The Life of Adam and Eve (4th-5th cent., origins to 1st c.):

  • This book includes jealous angels, a more devious serpent, and more information about Eve's fall from grace from her point of view.
  • This would have had to go into the Old Testament.
  • More detail about the tempting of Adam and Eve, with Satan appearing as an angel, not a serpent.
Did Cain commit incest? (24:00)

YES - The Book of Jubilees, Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), fragments found in the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Essenes, is a 50-chapter book considered canonical by Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

"It was so thoroughly suppressed in the 4th century that no complete Hebrew, Greek or Latin version is known to have survived."

This obscure Hebrew text answers a question that has vexed Christians for centuries -- if Adam and Eve only had sons, and if no other humans existed, who gave birth to humanity? This text reveals that Adam and Eve had nine children and that Cain's younger sister Awan became his wife. The idea that humanity was born of incest would have been radical -- and heretical.

NO - The motif here was to keep the Jewish race pure.

Everyone thinks the incest is too high a price to pay, except for the Ethiopians.

The Church was "right" to exclude this book.

What did Enoch see in heaven? (32:50, or 43:30)

Enoch was a one-sentence man.

* The Book of Enoch (300 BC): This scripture reads like a modern day action film, telling of fallen angels, bloodthirsty giants, an earth that had become home to an increasingly flawed humanity and a divine judgment to be rendered though denied a place in most Western Bibles;

It has been used for centuries by Ethiopian Christians.

Large portions were found as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Dante gets a lot of the Inferno from Enoch.

It was widely read and very popular, but just too creative.

In Corinthians, Paul, warning women to cover their hair, so as not to tempt angles, comes from Enoch.

In Ethiopia, by the time Christianity arrived, there were already stories that Menelik, first King, was a son of Solomon and Sheba.

What was the boyhood of Jesus like? (44:45 or 56:30)

:In the Infancy Gospel of Thomas [2nd c.], the only book about young Jesus, Jesus was a strong-willed "Dennis the Menace as God." At age five, Jesus killed a boy by pushing push him off a roof and then resurrected him.

Having made clay sparrows on the roof of a house, he was rebuked for working on the Sabbath. He clapped his hands, and the sparrows flew off. He said, "Remember this of me."

Perhaps too disturbing for inclusion in the Bible, this book contains traditions also known to the Koran.

This book was never a candidate for inclusion in the NT. It was written just too late. - in the late second century.

What about Mary? (52:45)

* The Gospel of James aka The Protevangelion of James aka The Infancy Gospel of James (AD 145):

On the life of the Virgin Mary, her parents, her birth and her youth, stories not found in the New Testament Gospels but beloved by early Christians.

  • This is the first book about the person of Mary.
  • Awkward -- would have to go first in NT, obscuring mission of Jesus.
  • The Immaculate Conception
    • Her mother, Anna, was barren until an angel announced her pregnancy.
    • Catholics take this as evidence for the Immaculate Conception,
    • the doctrine that Mary was conceived without original sin.
  • The Virgin Birth of Jesus
    • When Mary is pregnant with Jesus, later, Joseph is worried,
    • One Salome sicks her finger in Mary's vagina,
    • and tells Joseph that she is still a virgin.
  • Mary's perpetual virginity
    • plagued by the brothers and sisters of Jesus.
    • So Joseph had a first wife in this Protoevangelion.
    • The Koran makes that explicit.
    • The virgin birth of Jesus is in the Koran.
  • Mary is mentioned more in the Koran than in the Bible.
  • Koran chapter 19 has the Annunciation from the Gospel of Luke.
The confusion of Marys. (1:02:30, or, 1:30:50)
  • First, there is Mary, the mother of Jesus.
  • Mary Magdalene - introduced in Luke's gospel as a disciple of Jesus.
  • In the preceding paragraph, Luke told of the unnamed sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus.
  • In later church tradition, these two women were coalesced.
  • Mary Magdalene became a prostitute, but the text does not say that.
Mary Magdalene to the Gnostics in the Nag Hammadi texts (1:21:30)
  • The physical world was a cosmic mistake
  • created by an evil lesser God
  • That was the OT god.
  • Salvation comes through knowledge of the transcendent god.
  • from the realm of light and truth.
  • Mary Magdalene, unique among the disciples, bearer of secret knowledge.
  • "Wake up that God within."
Gnostic Gospel of Mary Magdalene.(1:31:30)

The Gospel of Mary - an apocryphal book discovered in 1896 in The codex Papyrus Berolinensis aka the Akhmin Codex (5th-century)

It is sometimes called, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

There is disagreement about which Mary is the subject.

This Gnostic text reveals that Mary Magdalene may have been an apostle, perhaps even a leading apostle, not a prostitute. While some texts in the Bible seem to deny women a voice in the Christian community, this texts helps spark the debate about the role of women in the church.

She claims to be special amongst the disciples.

She got special teachings from Jesus, conflicts with Peter over that.

Athanasius bans all the Gnostic books.

Gospel of Nicodemus. (1:14:30, or, 1:41:10)

* The Gospel of Nicodemus (AD 350-400)

The story of Jesus's trial and execution and his descent into hell.

The Savior asserts his power over Satan by freeing patriarchs such as Adam, Isaiah and Abraham from Hell.

This is the Hell where everyone goes, not only the wicked.

This has the only mention of Mary, the mother, meeting her Son on the way to the cross.

Origin of the stations of the cross.

But this book was written too late. It can't possibly be true.

Will there be an apocalypse? (1:22, or, 1:52:30)

(1) The Apocalypse of Peter (2nd c.)

  • Peter is a cobbling together of old stories.
  • It gives a picture of Hell, and the symbolic punishments for sins.
  • There is a way out of punishment for evildoers.
  • The threat of the apocalypse is God scaring people into living a moral life, and committing fewer sins.
  • All people will all eventually be forgiven.
  • Jesus tells this secret to Peter but tells him not to tell anyone.
  • It's this last part that probably did it in.
  • But Eusebius preferred this to the Apocalypse of John.

(2) The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter (100-200 AD), part of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. Written in Coptic.

  • This has an interesting depiction of the crucifixion.
  • A human body is on the cross.
  • Jesus is watching from the side and laughing at this attempt to kill the son of god, when he was never human -- as the Gnostics say.

(3) The Apocalypse of John is an original piece of literature. The Apocalypse of John was selected over Apocalypse of Peter.

(1:30:37, or, 2:01:10)

"Bible Apologists will stumble all over this documentary from the History Channel. It details books that were very popular among early Christians, and that were considered just as holy as the books that were canonized in the the Holy Roman Bible, but which were rejected and banned by Emperor Constantine in his quest to unite Rome. There are a number of omissions and inconsistencies when comparing the stories in these banned books to what is considered as the inspired word of God.

Of note: The Ethiopian Bible is much closer to the original accepted writings at the time of Jesus, than the Roman version is, because of how isolated Ethiopia was from Rome. Also, for all those turkeys that claim the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Bible, I’d like to point out that the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch were also included in the Dead Sea collection, so why aren't they in the canonized Bible? You cannot pick and choose, when these forbidden books were right there along with the official ones. Lastly, the banned books in the Nag Hammadi Library, in my opinion, should be considered as more valuable than the Bible, because they teach that the human mind holds the true answers to humanity’s many questions, and those answers have never been found under the Pope’s pointed hat." - verum et inventa.

Much of this uncanonized material shows up in Ethiopia and also in the Koran.

Banned from the Bible II
[The "II" appears on screen on the YouTube version only].
Season 1, Episode 2
THC, 2 hours; YouTube, 1:28:23.
Produced by Mindworks Media Group, Inc.
For The History Channel
© 2007 A&E Television Networks
  • Kenneth Hanson, Author, Secrets from the Lost Bible () - [moustache]
  • Eric Myers, Duke University - [blue and yellow tie]
  • Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles - [shaven head]
  • Kristi Copeland, Stanford University - [ green-striped blouse ]
  • John Dominic Crossan, Author, God and Empire ().
  • Bart D. Ehrman, Author, The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot ()
  • Richard Beaton, Fuller Theological Seminary - [ blue striped shirt ]
Narrator: Edward Herrmann (1943-2014)

(1) - Testament of Solomon.


  • Jesus casts out a demon in Gennesaret in 30 AD.
  • People demand a sign this is godly, not satanic.
  • In Luke 11:31, there will be no sign.
  • Jesus says, "Someone greater than Solomon is here."
  • Jesus refers to the Testament of Solomon.
Copies from 15th and 16th centuries with Christian references.

1945 - Nag Hammadi texts

  • date to 400 or before.
  • Solomon is the archetypal wise man and a master of demons.
  • He is a sorcerer, using astrology and magic.
  • It is written in the first person.
Josephus Flavius
  • He had a magic ring,
  • He used the ring to control Beelzebub and his demons and force them to build the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Solomon can handle demons, but women are his downfall.
  • Solomon makes a pagan sacrifice to appease his pagan wife.
  • For this, he loses his wisdom, speaks gibberish, becomes a laughing stock.
(2) - The Story of Lllith in
  • The Alphabet of Ben Sira (medieval)
  • The Zohar, or Book of Splendor (13th century)
  • ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • (23:00) Lilith refused to lie beneath Adam.
  • Lilith spoke the name, got power, flew up into the heavens.
  • Now Lilith will afflict newborns and men in their sleep.
  • She is Babylonian with bird talons, wings and owls.
  • She is lila, night. Also in Isaiah.
  • The Babylonian version was Lilitu, and she was sculpted.
  • How did Lilith go from Isaiah to Adam and Eve?
Midrash (to root out, to investigate)
  • fills in the gaps in the Bible.
  • God does not drop someone into the Bible without background.
  • Often based on word play.
  • This explains the two creation stories in Genesis.
  • There were two different women involved. How to explain them?
  • The first creation story is Lilith from Isaiah.
  • She is the succubus and nocturnal emissions. She is education and equality. She rejected God and Adam and so became a demon,
  • Adam's second wife, Eve, taken from his rib, will submit to him.
(3) - 1st c. BC - Joseph and Asenath.
  • (37:00) "Why did Joseph marry a shiksa?", demands a backstory.
  • This will resemble Midrash.
  • Asenath, daughter of Pentephres, or Potipherah, priest of Heliopolis, given in marriage to Joseph. (Genesis 41:45). The Pharaoh commands this.
  • When Asenath sees Joseph, she falls in love,
  • but he refuses her, an idol worshipper.
  • She covers herself in ashes, pagan-like, which turns to mud from her tears.
  • She prays to the Hebrew god, and he answers her.
  • She eats from a honey comb given by an angel.
  • Bees come out and purify her lips, honey is the milk of paradise.
  • Honeycomb is also sexual. She was converted into a Jewish wife.
  • Lots of converts to Judaism in the Greek and Roman worlds.
  • This text may have come into being to justify them.
  • As much as 1/10 of the Roman Empire was Jewish.
  • Asenath is now the model of the converted Jew.
  • The book was never a contender for the Bible
  • It was kept alive by non-Jews.
  • There was nothing objectionable about it, but it was not about Jesus.
(4) - The Septuagint includes the Apocrypha.
  • (50:00) Commissioned by Ptolemy to enrich the Library of Alexandria.
  • 12 tribes x 6 scholars = 72 translations,T
  • They are all identical. So they must be inspired.
  • 3 Bibles at the time:
    • Egyptian,
    • Palestinian, and
    • Babylonian, the last of which became orthodox.
  • Septuagint is the longest Hebrew Bible - has 12 books not found elsewhere.
Bel and the Dragon.
  • Daniel is a heroic detective.
  • He shows who eats the food that vanishes from the pagan temple's altar.
  • They are people, not the Babylonian deity, Bel.
  • By ashes on the floor, he discovers a secret door.
  • He shows that the Dragon is no good, by feeding it poison.
  • For these acts, he is thrown into the pit with the lions.
  • This appears too late for the Jewish canon.

(5) - Acts of Peter [showdown with Simon].

In the Bible's Acts,

  • he opposed Simon Magus,
  • rejecting his attempt to buy a laying on of hands. Simon repents and was baptized.
In this new Acts,
  • (1:05:19) written in the 2nd century
  • Simon Magus appears in Rome, performing miracles,
  • as if he represented God, instead of Peter and Paul, who really do.
  • Jesus appears to Peter at night and calls for him to have a contest of the faith with Simon, a contest on who has the power of life and death..
  • Peter confronts him in the Roman forum.
  • Simon is to kill a man, and Peter resurrects him.
  • Simon speaks a word in the man's ear and he falls down dead.
  • Peter speaks a few words to him and he rises from the dead.
  • The people acclaim Peter.
  • Simon then flies over the city of Rome.
  • Peter calls for him to fall, and he fell, and people believed Peter.
  • No golden age of Jesus when everyone agreed.

Lots of Christian versions, says Bart.

(6) - 170 AD - Acts of Paul and Thecla - [celibacy].

Thecla was second only to Mary.

  • (1:14:15) Sex was a big problem.
  • Paul said that asceticism was a choice.
  • In this book, Paul is now an ascetic, into total celibacy.
  • Local men complain about him.
  • Thecla, swayed by Paul's words, rejects Thamyris, her wealthy fiance.
  • She is burned at the stake for this crime, but it rained.
  • She travels with Paul. Another man falls in love with her, but she rips his clothes.
  • Then she was put in the arena with lions
  • The crowd divided up, woman against men,
  • not pagan versus Christian.
  • The female animals protected her.
  • Queen faints, and pardons Thecla.
  • Thecla's worship spread all across Christendom, Asia Minor to Spain.

Paul is a shit.

  • He refuses to baptise her for "she is not yet worthy."
  • He is leaving town. He abandons her in the arena.
  • While she is in the arena, she baptizes herself in a pool of water.
  • Lightning kills the sharks. "This is fairly radical feminism." -- Crossan.

Tertullian also rejects Thecla.

  • Women cannot baptise and cannot preach.
  • She is also choosy, not under the authority of a man.
  • Ascetic women in general are not under the authority of a man.
  • Celibacy is a big divider of the early church.

(7) - Acts of Peter, aka Martyrdom of Peter - [celibacy].

(1:26:36) Peter's death not in Bible.

Ambiguous prophecy in John 21:18-19

"When you grow old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go."

This book from 2nd century. More celibacy and its terrors. Later branded heretical.

Peter convinces wives to be celibate, angering their husbands, who were aristocrats under Agrippa the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, whose concubines revolted.

Augustus had passed strict laws to maintain the birth rate of the aristocracy.

Celibacy makes sense if the world is coming to a end soon.

  • Peter is leaving Rome, lest he be martyred.
  • He meets Christ on the road and asks him, Quo vadis, Domine? [ wiki ]
  • "I go into Rome to be crucified."
  • "Lord, art thou to be crucified again?"
  • "Yea, Peter, I am being crucified again."
  • So Peter goes back to his destiny.
  • He is crucified upside down at his choice, for the first man, Adam, was born head down, and the world has grown topsy-turvy since. So now he has clear vision.
  • The Romans often used odd crucifixion positions just for fun.
But the problem of the book is more of that celibacy nonsense.
How was Adam created out of dust upside down?
Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel, Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero (1895) won the Nobel Prize.

(8) - Letters of Clement of Alexandria to Theodore.

Their recent find

  • (1:38:15) Morton Smith (1915-1991) was a theology student at Columbia
  • He found the letters in 1958 at the Greek Orthodox Seminary at Mar Saba in the Judean desert near Bethlehem.
  • He took photos.
  • Was this a Morton Smith hoax?
  • The letter has not been seen since.
Based on public/secret versions.
  • Clement said there was a secret version of Mark.
  • In the canonical Mark, Jesus says that he has one teaching for the masses and another for the disciples.
  • After the martyrdom of Peter, Clement writes, Mark came to Alexandria to record a more complete version of the Gospel based on his and Peter's notes.
Was this letter written by Gnostics?
  • It is for "those being initiated into the great mysteries."
  • This sounds like Gnosticism.
  • many different Gnostic groups, as there were many Christian groups.
  • Gnostic: or knowledge saving the soul from the material world.
  • It is an umbrella term.
  • The Carpocratians [ were followers of Carpocrates ].
  • They were known for their licentiousness.
  • Clement says they got unauthorized access to this secret Mark.
  • They are spreading a corrupt version of the secret text.
  • They are adding sexuality to the story? A "naked man"?
  • In the canonical Mark, there is
    • And one, a certain young man, followed Him, having thrown a linen cloth around his naked body. [14:51]
  • In the canonical Mark, Jesus is in Jericho, and then he is not. It looks like something is missing.
  • But the real Clement rejected Gnosticism.
(9) - 300 AD - Gospel of Judas.
  • (1:52) Coptic, found at El Minya in 1970s, vanished, found again in 2000
  • Mentioned by Irenaeus in his book Against Heresies in 180.
  • What he says about the book coheres with the book that's been discovered.
  • There is a unique relationship between Jesus and Judas.
  • Jesus has special teachings for him alone
  • So the book is dated to 150 AD and linked to early Gnosticism
  • Special teaching from Jesus to Judas is Gnostic stuff.
  • The body is a physical barrier to overcome.
  • "You will exceed all of them. You will be taken out of the prison of the body."
  • Judas was the closest and last disciple of Jesus.
  • He will surpass all of them. He is not a villain, and he had to do his job.
  • Other disciples are jealous of him.
  • Competition among the disciples.
  • Believers took sides.
  • This book shows just how diverse the early church was. -- Bart
  • The fear over all these splinter groups is the fear that the church will break into factions and vanish.

Serials - Bible Hunters
[ sub-menu ] - [ top-menu ]
There is a BBC2 [ website ] and an American version. The BBC version "presents the information far better than its sensationalist North American counterparts." -- Apocryphicity - 03/09/2014.
Smithsonian HD
Produced by CTVC and Smithsonian Networks
© 2014 SNI/Si Networks L.L.C and CTVC.
# Title Date Subjects
1 BBC: The Search for Bible Truth
USA: Search for Truth
BBC: 03/06/2014
USA: 04/20/2014
2 BBC: The Search for Lost Gospels
USA: Hidden in the Sands
BBC: 03/13/2014
USA: 04/20/2014
Host: Jeff Rose [3-day beard, tattooed arms, motorcycle - one cool cat]
Music Composer: James Burrell

Larry Hurtado critiqued the show.

Bible Hunters: Episode 1 - Search for Truth
  • David Gange, University of Birmingham
  • Michael Ledger-Lomas, King's College London
  • Father Bigoul, Librarian of the Syrian Monastery
  • Edward Adams, King's College London
  • Simon Goldhill, King's College London [bushy beard]
  • Father Justin, St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai [from El Paso]
  • Father Shenouda, a monk local to the White Monastery
  • Scot McKendrick, The British Library
  • Kent Clark, Trinity Western University [ expert on Tischendorff's mission ]
  • Larry Hurtado, University of Edinburgh
  • Charles Freeman, Author, A New History of Early Christianity (Yale, 2009)
    • "He is not an expert in Christian origins, which makes this volume ... both refreshing and frustrating at the same time. [His Yale editor envisioned] a “critical but respectful” history of early Christianity [,meaning] something like 'debunking with a smile.' *** Caiaphas is the origin of the resurrection story! [He promotes the myth of pagan "diversity."] *** The volume could best be described as Chadwick for the new atheists, since it will enable them to keep their disgust at Christianity fresh." - RBL.
Places :
  • The Syrian Monastery at El Sourian
  • St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai
  • Ahkmim is 4 miles northeast of Sohag.
  • The Coptic White Monastery is west of Sohag.
200 years ago, Christianity faced a crisis. People talked of myths, rioted in the streets, burned books after sermons. This is "the story of a handful of intrepid explorers whose discoveries rocked the foundations of the Christian faith."

Q1: All this time, we have had Vaticanus - since Erasmus, at least.
Mark 16:9–20 - missing; —The Book of Mark ends with verse 16:8,
consistent with the Alexandrian text-type.
The means the "short ending"?
So WTF, WTF, WTF - why was it so shocking in 1844?

Q2: How many educated people of the 19th c. believed in 4004?

1798 - Vivant Denon (1747-1825), artist, arrives in Egypt with Napoleon.

He captivates an unsettled the public back in Europe.

1798 - He finds the Dendera Zodiac in the Hathor temple at Dendera.

The French race off to seize it, removing it oh so carefully with explosives.

A copy has replaced it today

French scholars dated it to 15,000 BC - far earlier than 4004.

[The relief, "the only complete map that we have of an ancient sky," has been conjectured as the basis on for later astronomy systems.

This chapel was begun in the late Ptolemaic period; its pronaos was added by the emperor Tiberius. This led Jean-François Champollion to date the relief correctly to the Greco-Roman period, but most of his contemporaries believed it to be of the New Kingdom.]

1835 - Das Leben Jesu (Life of Jesus) by David Strauss (1808-1874)

  • [ While influenced by Hegel's distinction between Vorstellung and Begriff ]
  • continued the Dendera controversy
  • doubted the truth of the Bible without external corroboration that does not exist
  • the miracles attributed to Jesus were mythical
  • The Gospels are inconsistent.
  • Then, the oldest Greek biblical texts for translation were 12th c.
  • The earliest copyists of the bible were not professional scribes. They made two kinds of mistake: missed-out words or repeated words, and intentional changes, adds and subtractions.
  • Dynamite at the time: the word of God is not reliable.[Goldhill excited.]

1834 - Robert Curzon (1810-1873) finds the Acts of Peter and Paul.

  • bored, sets out for Egypt and arrives at the Syrian Monastery (El Sourian), west of Cairo, dating to the 6th c.
  • The place was in disarray, manuscripts littering the floor.
  • Routine to burn books as wood for fire.
  • Found Syriac books from the 4th century.
  • Among them, the Acts of Peter and Paul.

[ The text is framed as the tale of Paul's journey from the island of Gaudomeleta to Rome. It assigns Peter as Paul's brother. It also describes the death of Paul by beheading, an early church tradition. The text also contains a letter purporting to be from Pilate, known as Acts of Pilate. ]

1844/1859 - Constantin von Tischendorf (1815-1874) - Codex Sinaiticus

  • 1840 - sets off to prove the Bible.
  • 1844 - he reaches Alexandria, overwhelmed by the noise of the city
  • Sets out for Giza
  • Then "back to the same Syrian monastery Curzon had visited 6 years earlier."
  • By now the monks, spoiled by Curzon's gold, refused to show him anything.
  • (27:10) One last chance, the Greek Orthodox Church
  • He gets letters of recommendation from clerics in Cairo
  • To St. Catherine's monastery on Mt. Sinai, 300 miles across the desert.
  • His letter of recommendation allowed him to be hauled up in a basket.
  • 1844 - leaves of the Codex Sinaiticus sitting in a basket,
  • some of the leaves already committed to the flames. [A "waste basket"?]
  • a Greek Bible containing half of the OT and all of the NT.
  • codex named after the Sinai Monastery
  • oldest and most complete Bible, dating to 325 - 350
  • the complete NT had not been discovered before. [WTF?]
  • out of 100 pages, they loaned him 43 pages to take back to Leipzig
  • He published his find but leaves out the place the book was found
  • He appealed to the Czar for help with the monks
  • 01/1859 - he returns, the basket of leaves has vanished.
  • Then tea with the steward of the monastery, who says he has Greeks mss. That was it, now the complete NT.
  • "One of the greatest discoveries in 2,000 years of Christian history."
  • 1862 - publishes the whole thing
1933 - given to the Czar, then sold by the Reds to the Brits in 1933 for the equivalent of today's 260 million dollars.


But Sinaiticus did not put old questions to rest, just raised more shocking questions - to some.

  • 35,000 corrections - some on every page.
  • 7th century - actual changes to the text, often dramatically.
  • "Forgive them, for they know not what they do" is absent - one scribe saying it is doubtful, then another scribe reinstating it
  • It has the short ending: Mark ends at 16:8 - "the women were afraid and tell nothing to anyone"
  • The long ending, Mark 16:9-20, 12 additional verses were post-4th c.
  • This was a bombshell to the Europeans. All Gospels are in doubt.
  • God had allowed the Bible to become corrupted. [Goldhill excited.]
  • Tischendorf nonplussed - makes no difference to Christian faith.
1886- Émile Amélineau (1850-1915)
  • "the greatest Coptic scholar of his generation"
  • The White Monastery in Sohag, south of Cairo on the Nile - 300-700 AD
  • large local caves carved out of rock, starting with the pharaoh's cave
  • Coptic Christianity is based in Egypt
  • He discovers a secret room with texts in Coptic, one attributed to Bartholomew
  • Jesus tells him, after his death, he went down into Hades to bring up Adam and all those who are with him
  • Religion defined who you were in 19th century land. [Goldhill]
1886 - Urbain Bouriant (1849-1903) discovers the Gospel of Peter (2nd c.)
  • (56:50) He's an expert in the new science of paleography.
  • Goes to a a tomb in Akhmim, south of Cairo, early center of Christianity
  • Cemetery there - bury dead in tombs with street names
  • Beside the mummy of a Christian monk, in one of the tombs, he found a gospel text from the 2nd century
  • Gospel of Peter - description of the resurrection - Jesus was a giant whose head reached to the heavens and there are two angels with him
  • behind them was a talking cross which proclaimed Jesus.
  • 1891 - Gospel of Peter published
  • ["It was the first of the non-canonical gospels to be rediscovered, preserved in the dry sands of Egypt."]

[[1883-1884 - Bouriant discovered the Great Hymn to the Aten, in the tomb of Ay at Amarna.]

"But his reputation was destroyed by his work as a digger at Abydos, after Flinders Petrie re-excavated the site and showed how much destruction Amélineau had wrought."]


Bible Hunters: Episode 2 - Hidden in the Sands.
  • Simon Goldhill, King's College London [bushy beard]
  • Janet Soskice, Cambridge University, Author, Sisters of the Sinai ().
  • Michael Ledger-Lomas, King's College London
  • Charles Freeman, Author, A New History of Early Christianity (Yale, 2009)
  • Dirk Obbink, Oxford University
  • Father Justin, St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai [from El Paso]
  • Edward Adams, King's College London
  • David Gange, University of Birmingham
  • Kent Clark, Trinity Western University [ expert on Tischendorff's mission ]
  • Julian Raby, Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
  • Larry Hurtado, University of Edinburgh
  • Emily Jacobson, paper curator, Freer and Sackler Galleries
  • Ahmed M. Abdul Ella Ali, Author and Lecturer on Egypt
  • Michael B. Phelps, Early Manuscripts Electronic Library
The effect of learning that the texts of the Bible are not reliable.
"The arrival of Sinaiticus was an absolute bombshell in Victorian society and in the world, not just in theology, but across the whole community." [Goldhill]

1892-1893 - Agnes and Margaret Smith find Syriac Sinaiticus of late 4th c..

  • Agnes Smith Lewis (1843-1926) and
  • Margaret Dunlop Gibson (1843-1920)
  • between them, they know 12 languages
  • as women, were not allowed into the Cambridge University library
  • 1881-1894 - the English Revised Version incorporated 30,000 changes to the AV from Codex Sinaiticus
  • [ Church of England Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott and Cambridge University Professor Fenton John Anthony Hort were the forces behind the translation.]
  • [ The Westcott and Hort theory was that the New Testament was preserved in almost perfect condition in two Greek texts, the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century (325-350 A.D.)]
  • A best seller, a million copies sold on first day
Shock at favorite passages moved to the margins. The sisters had to find an older version of the Bible to restore the version they loved. A Cambridge professor, Rendel Harris, told the sisters that there were manuscripts in a dark closet underneath the Archbishop's rooms at St. Catherine's. They were written in Syriac.
  • The sisters started learning Syriac.
  • Back to St Catharine's
  • Impressed the monks by speaking modern Greek.
  • 1892 - The sisters discover the Syriac Sinaiticus
  • used steam from their teapot to separate the pages
  • It was lives of women saints from the 8th c,
  • But it was a palimpsest - writing underneath 4 gospels in Syriac
  • vellum was scarce, and paper not yet invented
  • (15:00) Took hundreds of photos with their camera and glass plates.
  • 1893 - They convinced two Cambridge professors and came back a year later.
  • They applied ammonium hydrosulfide with a brush for 40 days
  • Complete set of 4 gospels
  • short Gospel of Mark - "This is the End" - shows short ending was correct.
  • "This is a very frightening ending for the Victorian Christians." [Simon Goldhill]

1897 - Grenfell & Hunt find the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

  • Bernard Pyne Grenfell (1869 – 1926) "fiery and gregarious"
  • Arthur Surridge Hunt (1871-1934) - papyrologist - "silent and studious"
  • Oxyrhynchus had 12 churches and 5,000 monks - 2,000 years ago
  • Find the trash heaps - 50,000 Greek manuscripts - 2 tons
  • "Sayings of Jesus" from 2nd c., some new.

(30:22) By now, everyone wants a part of the action - including American millionaires

1906 - Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919) buys 5th c. Codex Washingtonianus.

  • an accountant who made a fortune in railway boxcars.
  • His true passion was collecting fine art.
  • 1906 - he goes to Egypt
  • A local dealer, Ali Arabi, took him to the Mena House Hotel outside Giza.
  • Ali showed him some manuscripts that others were interested in.
  • Freer saw a new codex of the Gospels.
  • written on parchment
  • It had with wooden covers from the 7th century.
  • Third oldest gospel collection in the world.
  • Out of character, Freer bought it for $7,750 without consulting anyone.
  • ["The manuscript is lacunose."]

It has the Freer Logion.

  • It has the long ending of Mark (verses 9–20 ) with Resurrection appearances.
  • It features an addition between 16:14-15 known as the "Freer Logion"
  • where Christ berates the Disciples for not believing in his Resurrection.
  • "Excuse us," they say, "we are misled by Satan."
  • Christ says, "Satan's days are over, yet there are horrors to come."
  • This passage was known to St. Jerome.
  • Fresh evidence of ongoing changes to the gospels.

(43:20) Ancient MSS were sold in Cairo markets.

1946 - The Gospel of Thomas - those sayings of Jesus - sold in Cairo.

[ gnosis ] [ Wikipedia ]

"These are the hidden words which the living Jesus spoke , and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down."

"Jesus said, It is to those worthy of my secrets that I am telling my secrets. Do not let your left hand understand what your right hand is doing."

"Jesus said, whoever has become acquainted with the world has found a corpse. The world is not worthy of the one who has found the corpse."

Where did it come from?

1970s - the rest of the Nag Hammadi texts appear.

1970s - James Robinson made some headway. He met a priest at Faw Kibli who tipped in off about a local farmer, named Mohammed Ali. He had found a sealed clay pot with leather-covered texts, but he hid them with a monk.

Buried by Gnostics in 367 after ban by Athanasius in his Festal Letter #367.

Fixed doctrine of Bible at the end of the 400s - orthodoxy - a simple message that was not mystical or esoteric or pessimistic.

Search Goes On

(57:10) New texts being recovered from palimpsests with multispectral imaging - different wavelengths of light for different kinds of ink.

"New letters of Paul written in the fifth century."

Decades to go on the Oxyrhynchus papers. 5,000 fragments published out of a million.

2005 - El Gurna in upper Egypt excavated by Poles. They found the Acts of Peter from the 4th c.


Serials - Biblical Mysteries Explained
[ sub-menu ] - [ top-menu ]
According to BME, "some scientist believe that mega-disasters are a natural part the of the earth's heritage. These earlier disasters may have been recorded by man in folk legends, myths and even the Bible."
Produced by Flight 33 Productions, LLC
in association with Discovery Channel
© MMVIII or MMIX Discovery Communications, LLC.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Exodus. 12/14/2008 red tide, fungal fermentation
2 Sodom and Gomorrah. 12/14/2008 The Köfels Event in Austria
3 Lost Gospels. 04/06/2009  
Narrator: Michael Carroll [ at his management company ]

Biblical Mysteries Explained: 1 - Exodus
  • Colin Humphreys, author of The Miracles of Exodus.
  • John Marr, epidemiologist
  • Doron Moff, oceanographer
  • Peter Williams, Cambridge University
This is the naturalistic version of the miracles.

00:01:19 - commercial break log

  • 11:15 - 12:45 - 1:30
  • 21:00 - 24:15 - 3:15
  • 32:32 - 39:30 - 7:00
  • 46:00 - 47:30 - 1:30 / 13:15
01:01:18 - 46:45 for the program (out of 60 minutes)
First Six Plagues Interconnected [ see note on the plagues ]

1 blood Red tide, a blooming of green algae, kill fish and dissolves oxygen
2 frogs unlike fish, can escape the river, then die on the land and rot
3 kinim arrive to feast on the frogs
4 swarms also to the frog feast, Lake Timsah flies, stable flies, sharp pincers cause open wounds, exposing body to infection.
5 plague blue tongue virus, spread by gnats, fills lungs with fluids
6 boils spread by flies
7 storm (destroys cereal crops and hatches insect eggs
8 locusts desert locusts (schistocerca gregaria) cause famine
9 dark khamsin, a desert storm, raises dust from the barren fields
10 death stored grain underground, wet and covered with droppings of insects, is covered with sand as a prophylactic measure but causes the fermentation of a mycotoxin fungus. So the top layer becomes deadly, just the food for the firstborn who, by custom, eat first and get a double portion. Same for the animals, where the dominant, the eldest, eat first.

controlled fungal fermentation (yeast) gives us alcohol, but uncontrolled gives us poison.

"Hebrew slaves built treasure cities of Pithom and Ramesses"

Ramses is modern-day Kantir

Pharaoh was Ramesses II, exodus about 1280

Egypt controlled the Sinai, so the Israelis went to the Gulf of Aqaba. heading for Midian in present-day Saudi Arabia, where, years before, Moses had heard Yahweh in the Burning Bush, which was an acacia bush, which, put to the torch, will turn to charcoal, thus burning but "not being consumed."

Red Sea parting. "Some scientists say it could have happened if all the conditions were right." Wind set-down. Strong wind, shallow water, and an underwater ridge to appear as dry land. Is there such a ridge? Not now, but 3,000 years ago, there was! Today's shoreline at Eilat would have been submerged then, taking ridges with it.

Now, the mountain of God. A pillar of cloud leads the way, and a pillar of fire by night. A volcano. None in Sinai, but several in Saudi Arabia.

Humphreys and Williams are "helped by a verbal map that seems to be encoded in the words of the Bible itself, in the Book of Deuteronomy."

11 day journey from Kadesh-Barnea to Sinai.

A typical day's journey is 37 miles. So this is 412 miles.

Hallat al Badr in Saudi Arabia the only volcano big enough in that radius.

Biblical Mysteries Explained: 2 - Sodom and Gomorrah
  • Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, American Jewish University in Los Angeles
  • Robert R. Cargill, Archaeologist, UCLA
  • Alan Bond, Co-Author,
    • A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels' Impact Event (self-2008)
  • Mark Hempsell, Co-Author,
    • A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels' Impact Event (self-2008)
  • Mohammad Najjar, Archaeologist
  • Lonnie G. Thompson, The Ohio State University

Genesis 18-19: Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoar, Admah, and Zeboüm were the "pentapolis of the Vale of Siddim" or "the cities of the plain." Only Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone. Lot's wife disobeys the angel, looks back at the burning cities, and turns into a pillar of salt. There were salt pillars around the Dead Sea, some of them six feet tall.

What invoked God's wrath? Not clear. Cities are sinful, as opposed to the nomadic life. Homosexuality? Inhospitality to strangers?

3000 - bronze age - start of agriculture. [I have 3,500] - start of civilization


We've found the remains of Zoar.

1894 - Madaba, Jordan, under the floor stones of the church of St. George, lies an intricate mosaic map from the 6th c, showing Jerusalem, Jericho, the Dead Sea, and the city of Zoar - a name only from the Bible.

The town of Safi, its medieval name, is shown by the map to have been Zoar.

In Greek, on the map, "The Sanctuary of Lot" or "Holy Lot"

We find a 7th century church, "The Sanctuary of Holy Lot." An aisle in the church has a cave at the end of it, which seems to match Lot's sanctuary.

Have we found the remains of Sodom?

So Sodom could be the nearby Bab edh-Dhra on the shore of the Dead Sea.

Mass graves found nearby, 20,000 people. A huge graveyard for a small site. The city was abruptly abandoned in the past.

[ Some biblical scholars argue that

  • the village is too small, not in the designated geographical area and was not destroyed in the appropriate time.
  • But a set time frame for its destruction is not necessarily reliable
  • Bitumen and petroleum deposits in the area contain sulfur and natural gas,
  • Or, a pocket of natural gas led to the incineration of the city. ]

Did a Sumerian astronomer observe the asteroid that destroyed Sodom?

(27:21) The "Planisphere" is

  • a small clay disk found in Nineveh in the 1800s. Sumerian or Assyrian.
  • Ancient cuneiform, a picture of the night sky above Sumer.
  • Constellation drawings, astronomical names: Gemini, Pisces, Mercury, Jupiter.
  • A dotted line, an object, crossing the sky, probably an asteroid, in Pisces.
  • he sees it when it is out in space, not in the sky.
  • An asteroid from an Aten orbit, which were found in the 1970s to orbit the sun between the earth and Venus. The range from 100 feet across to over a mile.

Now, a surprise - The Köfels Impact Event in Austria.

(35:45) When Bond and Hempsell use software to trace the impact, assuming that the observer was in Iraq, the asteroid lands in Northern Europe - in the Austrian Alps at a place called Köfels in the valley of Ötztal, Tirol (Oetztaler Valley).

There is no meteor crater there. The asteroid exploded in the air, as one did in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908.

[Wikipedia: Köfels, one of 6 villages in municipality of Umhausen. ]

[RationalWiki: Köfels Impact Event.

The Köfels landslide was a huge mountain rock slide (a Sturzstrom) that occurred in the Austrian Alps about 9800 years ago. Some of its features mystified geologists for quite some time. One hypothesis was that it had been caused by an asteroid impact - a Köfels impact event - but more recent research has rejected the idea. This didn't stop a pair of British engineers from publishing a book that claims that

  • a) it was an asteroid impact,
  • b) it inspired a lot of myths, and
  • c) it was recorded on an ancient Sumerian clay tablet

In 2008, two British engineers, Alan Bond and Mark Hempsell, published a book, A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels' Impact Event. They claim that an ancient Sumerian clay tablet documents an asteroid impact on 29 June 3123 BC that was the root of many myths, including the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Greek myth of Phaeton (the son of the sun god Helios who took his father's fiery sun chariot for a joyride and crashed it).

There are many problems with their claims, but perhaps the most major one is the wrong chronology. The Köfels site has been dated with radiocarbon dating of wood buried by the landslide to about 9800±100 BP (Before Present), which is about 4000 years earlier than Bond and Hempsell's date. ]

The Biblical destruction came from the aftermath.

An explosion 100x greater than a nuclear weapon, leaving a mushroom cloud of rock and dirt and earth back across the Mediterranean. It re-entered 1500 miles away in the Dead Sea. Anyone there would have ignited instantly. Software tells us when it happened.

The date was the 29th of June, 3123 B.C. at 4:30 am.

Is there other evidence of this catastrophe? Yes.

(45:45) What do the ice cores say?

  • A retreating glacier in Peru had plant material, flash-frozen, 5,200 years old.
  • This calamity occurred around the world at the same time.
  • A sudden freeze world-wide. In Tibet.
  • In North Africa, a lush region becomes the Sahara desert.
  • Civilizations collapse ion the Middle East.

That would be 3200 BC?

That would be the Sumerian Planisphere. The ash would have surrounded the earth, blocking the sun, and causing a world wide climate collapse. Freeze or desert.

(55:10) The plume would have gone back in an arch over the trajectory, back to Sodom where people first saw it enter the night sky.

Quite a spectacular meteor shower turning to flame as it descends, over 500 degrees F, catching everything on fire. Lot's wife became a charred corpse.


Biblical Mysteries Explained: 3 - Lost Gospels
Personae: Experts:
  • Robert R. Cargill, Archaeologist, UCLA - [ at his website ]
  • Darrell L. Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • S. Scott Bartchy, Professor of Christian History, UCLA
  • Robert Koestler, Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute
  • Nora Lockshin, Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • Melvin Wachowiak, Smithsonian Institution


By 200 AD, there were 50 Gospels.

Until recently, they had all but four disappeared. Because of politics. The Orthodox wrote the Bible in the 300s, and Constantine had a political vision of unifying the Roman Empire. Romans could organize.

He commissioned the creation of 50 copies of the Bible containing Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. [ Source? Haven't read that yet. ]

382 - Theodosius calls all other gospels heresy.

In 1886, the Gospel of Peter emerges from sands of Egypt

  • This "shakes Christian history to its core." A monk from the 8th century had the little book buried with him.
  • "The discovery set off shock waves throughout the world of Biblical scholarship."

1945 - Gospel of Thomas, found at Nag Hammadi among the 52 texts

  • (15:08) a collection of sayings of Jesus.
  • There are no stories about Him.
  • In Coptic
  • Gnostic-- you are saved by secret knowledge.
  • If Jesus can become a son of God, so can you, so can we all become sons of God. Jesus has nothing we can't have. We can have the same relationship to the Divine. You can have a personal connection to God without the Church or its hierarchy.
  • The Gospel of Thomas may pre-date the Four Gospels. We have fragments of it that are very early.
  • Carbon-14 dating Thomas gives 300-400 AD, approximately the same time as our copies of the 4 Gospels.
  • Ancient writers refer to the gospels by 150 AD.
  • Some say older because it's simpler.

1896 - Gospel of Mary Magdalene - Akhmim, Egypt - north of Nag Hammadi

  • (26:45) a Mary who is a part of the inner circle of Jesus, equal to the men, and more. She is the leader of the apostles. Jesus gives her secrets he gives to no others.
  • Jesus describes the afterlife to Mary in Gnostic terms. It involves a journey of the soul after death to encounter angelic and demonic beings.
  • Then Peter blows up,"You prefer a woman to us?" The apostles support Mary, saying that Jesus can choose whom he wills.
  • Carbon dated to 5th c, but older fragments have shown up, dating to 200 AD.
  • The language suggests 2nd century, so it is unlikely that Mary wrote it herself.
  • Power struggle in early Church over role of women?
  • Gnostics favorable to women?

1886 - The Gospel of Peter - clutched in the hands of an 8th c monk.

  • (38:00) The Romans were sympathetic to Jesus and he suffered no pain on the cross.
  • eyewitness account of the Resurrection as seen by Roman soldiers.
  • The stone rolls away, and two angelic beings come out, supporting Jesus. A voice from heaven cries, "Have you preached to those who have died?"
  • and then all the figures rise into the heavens with Jesus.
  • copy dated to 700 AD, but fragments go back to 500 AD.
  • It is mentioned by a writer in 190 AD, so it is probably 2nd century Pseudepigrapha.
  • Much of it is derivative of the 4 gospels, but they too are Pseudepigrapha.
  • It contains suspect material, all the beings enlarge in size and their heads reach the heavens.
  • There is a talking cross. This is just too fantastic.

2000 - The Gospel of Judas - published 2006.

  • (48:00) papyrus found at an antiquities dealer.
  • Judas is a special disciple, receiving enlightenment
  • Jesus says Judas will only deliver his physical body to the Romans. He will escape crucifixion and return to the spiritual realm.
  • very esoteric Gnostic. Jesus not really dying, spirit liberated at the cross, etc.
  • Not a modern forgery; dated to 280 - 330 AD.

(56:15) By 300, the Gnostics were a threat to the Bishops.

Anyone can access the divine, don't need a church. So the Gnostics did not develop an organization with any popular support. This led to their undoing.

367 - The Gnostic monks hid their favorite books in a cave.

"Sometimes, the winners deserve to win." -- Bock


Serials - Bible Secrets Revealed
[ sub-menu ] - History Channel Home Page.- [ top-menu ]
[H2 HD]
Produced by Prometheus Entertainment for History®
© 2013 A&E Television Networks, LLC.
"This program explores the mysteries of the Bible from a variety of historical and theological perspectives which have been debated for centuries."

"Now, for the first time, an extraordinary series will challenge everything we think, everything we know, and everything we believe about the Bible."
# Title Date Subjects
1 Lost in Translation 11/13/2013  
2 The Promised Land 11/20/2013  
3 The Forbidden Scriptures. 11/27/2013  
4 The Real Jesus. 12/04/2013  
5 Mysterious Prophecies. 12/18/2013  
6 Sex and the Scriptures. 12/25/2013  
Consulting Producer: Robert R. Cargill
Narrator: Jonathan Adams.

Bible Secrets Revealed : The Forbidden Scriptures
Season 1, Episode 3

McGowan - men with specific agendas created the official canon. Their agena was politics and economics, not spirituality,

Apocrypha - more books than canonical.


Book of Enoch - 300 BC - 100 AD - it was too bizarre. This was the man "who did not die." He now sits with God and makes revelations to humanity.

McGowan - this book was the most forbidden.

  • The Giants or Watchers
  • 5,000 renegade angels came to earth to guard man
  • taught women forbidden arts - warfare, magic, and cosmetics.
  • they lusted after women, who had offspring - the giant warriors, Nephilim.
  • Nephilim means fallen ones, who revolted against God
  • Nephilim - Monsters, not angels nor people.
  • So many that God had to destroy all of humanity to get rid of them
  • threatening idea is that they, rivaled God.
  • Also portrayed God as compassionate, a forgiver not a punisher for sins
  • God protects us in the book of Enoch.
  • Church wanted an angry and forbidden god?

God was forgiving but he wiped out mankind for the sins of the Nephilim? HUH?


1945 - Nag Hammadi discovered - 5 jars hidden by Gnostics.

  • Gospel of Thomas - 100 sayings of Jesus in private
    • never mentions the OT,
    • doesn't like OT characters,
    • humans have the divine within them
  • Gospel of Philip, Gospel of the Egyptians, the Testimony of Truth
  • Material world was evil
  • Tradition directly from Jesus - don't need intermediaries, priests, churches
  • 367 - Athanasius lists 27 books of NT, declares Gnostics heresy.

What exactly is this secret knowledge?


1896 - Gospel of Mary [Magdalene], Gnostic of 2nd century, found at Akhmim

[ Exhibit #1 in the Feminist Critique of the Church ]

  • Jesus loved Mary more than the other disciples
  • She got secrets Jesus hid from the others, and she taught them to the disciples, but we don't have what those teachings are.
  • Just stuff about rising up through various levels of heaven
  • first few chapters missing
  • Peter turns on her, but other disciples rebukes him, the bad guy
  • Current Gospels agree - women first to see Jesus after death
  • Mary as successor of Jesus terrified Fathers of the Church
  • Church became patriarchal when it became an arm of the Roman Empire.
Testimony of Truth.
  • The Serpent is the hero, offering knowledge, not hiding it.
  • Why doesn't God want you to have knowledge?


1st c. AD - The Life of Adam and Eve.

  • based on Hebrew manuscripts that, although lost, have survived in other languages.
  • Their lives after the Expulsion
  • God gives them Seth as a gift after Cain kills Abel
  • Then God gives 60 more kids: 30 sons, 30 daughters
  • Emergence of disease and death - "What's going on?"
  • Eve gets to tell her story - so it's scary to the Church
  • Why was the Church so insistent on patriarchy?

1975 - Kuntillet Ajrud, in the Sinai in Egypt - Israelite center in 8-9 c. BC - 2 large ceramic jars

  • with symbols and illustrations ,
  • and Hebrew text saying that God had a wife, Asherah,
  • mentioned more than 40 times in 9 books of the OT
  • Jeremiah 44 describes Asherah as the "Queen of Heaven"
  • Worshipped by ancient Israelites as late as Jeremiah, in the 7th c BC.
  • Asherah was a tree and a serpent
  • Story of Adam and Eve may be an old goddess myth
  • Deuteronomy 12 commands destruction of "Asherah poles"

"The single unique idea of the Bible is that God was sexless, that God had no consort, that God had no sexual identity." Although the Bible uses male pronouns. "One of the ways to distinguish between the religion of the Bible and virtually every other religion of the ancient world was that only among the Israelites was God a sexless creature." -- Kirsch

The Gnostics reject that.

(54:30) Apocalypse is an unveiling or revealing of a heavenly secret.

20 Apocalypses kept out of the NT.

Apocalypse of John almost failed to get into the NT. Some preferred The Apocalypse of Peter where we see the appropriate punishments of the various sins.

The Gospel of Peter.

  • After Jesus emerges from the Tomb, the Cross emerges.
  • God asks the Cross, "Have you been preaching to the souls of the departed?"
  • The Cross replies, "Yes."
The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter.
  • Jesus shows Peter the crucified man on the cross
  • Jesus shows him a laughing man on a tree
  • "The real me is the laughing man on the tree."
  • So Jesus did not want us to focus on the Crucifixion.
The book condemns the contemporary Church.

"When we are exposed to Bible stories, they are censored. They are selected and censored. The most troubling, the most titillating, the most provocative passages are left out." -- Kirsch

Bible Secrets Revealed : The Real Jesus
Season 1, Episode 4
  • Mark Goodacre, Ph. D., Professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Candida Moss, Ph. D., Professor of Early Christianity,
    • University of Notre Dame
  • Elaine Pagels, Ph. D., Professor of Religion, Princeton University
  • Amir Hussain, Ph.D., Author, Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God (2006)
  • Chris Keith, Ph. D., Professor of Early Christianity,
    • St. Mary's University College
  • Dale Martin, Ph. D., Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University
  • Jeffrey Geoghegan, Ph. D., Co-Author, The Bible for Dummies (2002)
  • Gary Burge, Ph. D., Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
  • Fr. William Fulco, Ph. D., Professor of Mediterranean Studies,
    • Loyola Marymount University - [ black pirate's eye patch ]
  • Jodi Magness, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Kathleen McGowan, Author, The Source of Miracles (2009)
  • James D. Tabor, Ph. D., Professor of Religious Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Bart Ehrman, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Jodi Magness, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Reza Aslan, Ph.D., Author,
  • Robert R. Cargill, Ph. D., Professor of Classics and Religious Studies,
    • University of Iowa
  • Robert Mullins, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies,
    • Azusa Pacific University
  • Jennifer Wright-Knust, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Religion,
    • Boston University
Date of Birth

Herod died in 4 BC, so Jesus had to be born before then.


  • Joseph and Mary are from Nazareth.
  • The only census of the time was the census of Quirinius in 6 AD.
  • No census required people to move to their hometown.
  • So Jesus was probably born in Nazareth, and
  • he Bethlehem story was to fulfill prophecy.
Perpetual Virginity of Mary
  • Jesus had a large family, at least four brothers and two sisters.
  • His brothers become important later
  • Virgin birth only found in Matthew and Luke.
  • more prophecy-fulfillment. Isaiah. 7:14 - "Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, his name Immanuel."
  • The word in Isaiah means "young girl." Matthew uses the word, "virgin."
  • The brothers and sisters become inconvenient and moved to a first wife.
"The Infancy Gospel of Thomas" - 125 AD
  • This Thomas was a brother of Jesus.
  • Jesus kills a child who bumps into him.
John the Dipper - John the Baptist
  • People came from all over to be immersed by him
  • First cousin of Jesus, son of Elizabeth.
  • At one time, John and Jesus were rivals. Some thought John superior.
  • Arrested, imprisoned, beheaded.
His ministry was funded by women.
  • Luke 8 tells of them.
  • Mary Magdalene may have owned a fishing business.
  • Gnostic gospels refer to her as a lover of Jesus.
  • The Church fathers remove her from the story by calling her a prostitute.
  • He did befriend gluttons and drunkards.
Being cutesy as the Messiah.
  • Matthew - he says that he is the Messiah, the Son of God.
  • In Aramaic, bar enus is just "a person."
  • John - When he says that he is the Son of Man, we don't know if he is claiming to be Messiah.
  • It is studied ambiguity.
  • Dozens of other Messiahs were roaming the countryside.
  • Wealth stood in the way of following Jesus.
  • Common people were equal to the wealthy in eyes of God.
  • Render to Caesar - he does not threaten the Romans.
  • But the Jews think a Messiah is precisely an attack on the Roman occupation.
  • The donkey - for Zechariah - pantomiming this prophecy - this can only mean, "I am the Davidic King," ready liberate people from Roman rule.
Cleansing of he Temple.
  • one of the few incidents mentioned in all four gospels.
  • This is supposed to be a house of prayer for all nations - not just Jews
  • It has become a house of commerce.
  • the one likely to have cost him his life.
Trial for Sedition.
  • He taught his disciples they would sit on the thrones of their tribes. He will be the King
  • Judas told this to the Romans.
  • The trial is suspicious: it's at night and on Passover. This is illegal.

Was the Resurrection a misunderstanding?

Since he died on the Sabbath, his body had to be placed where no work could be done on it. No work on the Sabbath.

The empty tomb could just mean the body was taken for a final reburial.

Story of his resurrection are based on a misunderstanding? They did not know it was taken elsewhere for dressing?

But they were all Jews! They had to know about the Sabbath? They just didn't know someone had taken it away before them?

Then the resurrection stories took hold.

Bible Secrets Revealed : Mysterious Prophecies
Season 1, Episode 5
Does the Bible contain secrets?
  • Joel M. Hoffman, Ph. D., Author, And God Said (2009)
  • Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
  • Jonathan Kirsch, Author, God Against the Gods (2004)
  • Mark Goodacre, Ph. D., Professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Elaine Pagels, Ph. D., Professor of Religion, Princeton University
  • Candida Moss, Ph. D., Professor of Early Christianity,
    • University of Notre Dame
  • Amir Hussain, Ph.D., Author, Oil and Water: Two Faiths, One God (2006)
  • Chris Keith, Ph. D., Professor of Early Christianity,
    • St. Mary's University College
  • Rabbi Alvin Kass, Chief Chaplain, New York Police Department
  • Jordan Smith, Ph. D., Lecturer, Biblical Studies, University of Iowa
  • Jeffrey Geoghegan, Ph. D., Co-Author, The Bible for Dummies (2002)
  • Jodi Magness, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    James D. Tabor, Ph. D., Professor of Religious Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Bart Ehrman, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Reza Aslan, Ph.D., Author,
  • Robert R. Cargill, Ph. D., Professor of Classics and Religious Studies,
    • University of Iowa
  • Jennifer Wright-Knust, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Religion,
    • Boston University
A Prophet is
  • "navi" - "to speak, to affirm, to declare"
  • To be the mouthpiece of God
  • Not necessarily to predict the future or foretell it
  • Not fortune tellers.
  • Closer to "professors"
A Messiah is
  • a deliverer of the Jews
  • who will overthrow enemies of the Jews and rule a future kingdom
  • In the Roman days. they became desperate for a Messiah.
  • Jesus saw himself as the One, the Messiah.
  • But Jews rejected an Messiah who wound up on a cross.
The Christian problem - prove that the Crucifixion was prophesied.
  • So they had to find "after-the-fact" prophecies
  • Isaiah 53 - suffering servant of god, pierced through for our transgressions
  • "By his wounds we are healed."
Jesus employed the revolutionary terms of Daniel.
  • Christian afterlife, another life with identity, is not Biblical.
  • The Bible has only a dark miserable underground where all people go.
  • You follow all these rules and you are miserable. Why? There had to be an eternal reward.
  • Daniel - new idea of afterlife - the righteous will awaken again and rewarded in Heaven or punished in hell. (chapter 12)
  • God just had to make everything right in the future.
  • Bodily resurrection or an immortal soul?
  • Daniel (chapter 7): The Son of Man determined who is worthy of life in heaven.
  • He would bring about a utopia on earth.

Jesus suggests that he is the Son of Man prophesied in scripture.

Then there is the Book of Revelation.

  • 79 AD - Mount Vesuvius erupts and destroys Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • Early Christians took this as a judgement on the Romans.
  • It may have been the inspiration for the Book of Revelation.
  • If you wanted to talk of current political events, you had to encode your words or else the police will be at the door.
  • Seven things of any kind can refer to the seven hills of Rome.
  • If it is about the destruction of Rome, IT FAILS. Rome goes on.
The prophet, Ezekiel.
  • Temple destroyed in 586 BC
  • Ezekiel an exile in Babylon.
  • He has otherworldly visions.
  • Ezekiel is like a street preacher of today (Cargill)
  • Ezekiel first book of mysticism in Judaism.
  • Kabbalah - esoteric teachings to explain God and Man.
  • From Ezekiel, god is the light within you.
  • The OT promotes law and order.
  • Ezekiel offered oneness with god, not law and order.
The Rapture from First Thessalonians
  • Letter by Paul to the Thessalonians, 52 AD,
  • Audience believes Christ would return before anyone died.
  • The Rapture was to reassure them -- the dead will also rise.
  • Describes The Rapture, when Christ returns for his own and they rise to meet him in the air.
  • No Rapture in Revelation where God destroys the evil of the world.

Bible Secrets Revealed : Sex and the Scriptures
Season 1, Episode 6
  • Jeffrey Geoghegan, Ph. D., Co-Author, The Bible for Dummies (2002)
  • Jonathan Kirsch, Author, The Harlot by the Side of the Road (1998)
  • Jodi Magness, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies,
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Joel M. Hoffman, Ph. D., Author, And God Said (2009)
  • Elaine Pagels, Ph. D., Professor of Religion, Princeton University
  • Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Ph. D.
  • Jennifer Wright-Knust, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Religion,
    • Boston University
  • Fr. William Fulco, Ph. D., Professor of Mediterranean Studies,
    • Loyola Marymount University
  • Candida Moss, Ph. D., Professor of Early Christianity,
    • University of Notre Dame
  • Reza Aslan, Ph. D., Author,
  • Robert R. Cargill, Ph. D., Professor of Classics and Religious Studies,
    • University of Iowa
  • Peter T. Lanfer, Ph. D., Professor of Near Eastern Cultures,
    • The University of California, Los Angeles
  • Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
  • Dale Martin, Ph. D., Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University

(3:20) The OT was concerned with procreation, the more the merrier.

"One of the great themes of the Bible is that the world around Israel was corrupt and that the Kingdom of Israel was the one refuge for the righteous. This is a continuous drumbeat throughout the Bible" -- Kirsch

Torah rules for sex aimed to protect the birth of legitimate Israelites to keep on.

Leviticus, the priestly law, has more strict rules.

If the eldest son dies without issue, the the next-born son shall marry his widow and have children by her, to be regarded as the offspring of the dead husband and the heir of his property and so give the woman a role in the community and access to her husband's property which she would not otherwise have.

This law is later illustrated in Ruth about Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. The tale uses euphemism, "uncovering feet" for "uncovering genitalia."

Ruth --> Obed --> Jesse --> David --> Solomon --> *** --> Jesus.

Abraham, with barren wife Sarai, and Hagar --> children

The Law wants as many children as possible. So some sexual situations are approved if they lead to children.

(17:30) The NT has nothing good to say about sex.

Although Jesus was tolerant of the sinner who washed his feet with her hair and her tears, feet being here literal, he had little to say about marriage and nothing about sex.

  • Except that there is no marriage in heaven.
  • Paul preferred celibacy.
  • Nothing in the Bible required Catholic priests to be celibate.
  • Celibacy is a stamp of one's commitment to the Church. Spread the Good News, not the bloodline,


In the OT, polygamy was the norm, but it came close to accepting homosexuality.

Story of close relationship of David and Jonathan, who wear each other's clothes. David lamented his death. "Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."

Kirsch: It's either platonic or sexual. The language is sexual, but it is ambiguous. "David is at best bisexual."


Solomon connected to the Song of Songs, the most sensual book in the OT. It is an erotic poem, celebrating sexual desire between men and women who are not married. They are "hooking up."

It can also be read allegorically.


Biblical authors believed the purest way to live was the Bedouin lifestyle - always on the move and relying on yourself. -- Kirsch

Distrusted cities, where you can indulge sinful tastes.

Sodom and Gomorrah stand for the sinfulness of cities. The people want to rape the strangers in the city in order to humiliate them. But sodomy is not the sin. Rape is the sin. Not practicing hospitality in the near eastern sense.

Lot's daughters, even with the incest, are rewarded for procreating. They were a unique case. The first commandment to be fruitful overrules the "fussy priestly law about incest."

So if incest, adultery, and homosexuality could be tolerated in the OT, why did things change? How did sex out of marriage become sinful?


Christians created Original Sin.

The answer lies in the story of Adam and Eve. They become aware of their nakedness after disobeying God. It's the downfall of all humanity, with the breach of the covenant and sexuality and the fear of death all mixed together.

For the Jews, it was not all bad. Now they had to take care of each other.

Then came Augustine,

  • Adam and Eve's crime gave rise to Original Sin,
  • the sin of disobedience is now inherent in all mortals
  • transmitted in the sexual act..
  • So sex is sinful.

Original Sin removed by the sacrament of baptism. [So why need the Atonement?]

Serials - Decoding the Past.

Decoding the Past - Unraveling the Shroud
Season X, Episode Y
Produced by Actuality Productions, Inc. for History
© 2005 A&E Television Networks, LLC.
  • Walter McCrone, Ph.D., expert in microscopic analysis - deceased
  • Stephen Berkman, Historic Photographer
  • Lynn Picknett, Author, Turin Shroud: In Whose Image?.
  • Susan Wegner, Ph.D., Art History, Bowdoin College
  • Timothy M. Thibodeau, Ph.D., History, Nazareth College
  • Antonio Lombatti, Ph.D., Editor, Deepening Shroud.
  • Todd Fenton, Ph.D., Forensic Anthropology, Michigan S.U.
  • John Jackson, Ph.D., Director, Turin Shroud Center,
    • Colorado (3-D modelling in 1976)
  • Barrie Schwortz, Shroud Photographer
  • Adam Zepeda, Computer Graphic Artist
  • Joe Nickell, Skeptical Enquirer.
  • Mark Guscin, Author, Burial Cloths of Christ.
  • August D. Accetta, MD, Shroud Center of Southern California
  • Tom Guilderson, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • Tom Brown, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • Raymond Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratories
  • Bob Cornuke, Ph.D., Author, Relic Quest: Legend Chaser (2005).
  • Barrie Goetz, Forensic Analyst, Sangre de Cristo Forensic Services
  • Alexander Peter, Art Institute of California, S.F.
Narrator: Edward Herrmann (1943-2014)

Shroud is 14 feet long, shadowy figure of a man with markings like a crucifixion, and when viewed in the negative, the features are clearer,

Theory: Leonardo made the shroud by taking the first photograph.

Stephen Berkman made a 43 day exposure of a mannikin into a large camera obscura, focused on a cloth impregnated with silver nitrate, which Leonardo had. How did he fix it? With salt? [NO ANSWER] It also looks sharper when viewed in the negative.

Theory that the face on the shroud is Leonardo.

On the basis of facial proportions, can't be ruled out.

Leonardo, Johannite, believed that John the Baptist, while not divine, was superior to Jesus. Did he plant Johannite clues in his paintings?

Theory: a gamma ray burst caused by the Resurrection made the image.

Accetta had himself injected with radioactive isotopes and had a gamma ray scanner test the voltage of his body, giving results similar to the shroud.


McCrone said he found particles of paint on the shroud -- red ochre, vermillion, traces of rose matter, and collagen tempura binder. Also no blood. Therefore, the shroud is a forgery, a painting.

BUT - say other scholars - the shroud was often copied in antiquity by people who used just those paints. And the last part of the copy-process was to press the copy onto the original, this being the "secondary relic" part of the copy.

So it's no wonder there is paint on the shroud


The finding of no blood has also been challenged.


1987/1988 - small sample used for RC dating. Burn to recover carbon dioxide. Being linen (3-1 herringbones twill), it has isotopes of Carbon-14 and Carbon-12.

  • Carbon-14 decays at a known rate
  • Carbon-12 doesn't decay at all
  • Date by the ratio of C-14 to C-12.
Labs in Zurich, Oxford, and Tucson each had a piece.

Dated to 1260 - 1390 AD, corresponding to its first appearance in France in the 1300s.

BUT - 2005 - STURP scientist Raymond Rogers says the dating was invalid, since the samples were taken from areas of the shroud that had been repaired.

There's carbon in the RC sample, but not in the Shroud.

John Jackson disagrees with him, but he questions the dating. The fire of 1532 could have added new carbon molecules that skew the dating.


TOO MUCH: Cornuke and Goetz analyze blood flows while standing and while lying down from the shroud.

Nickell: It's just too perfect.

The digital imaging team finds that the shroud figure it stretched from normal human proportions. Based on the head, etc. The arms are too long. Flawed proportions.

But if it were a first century Jewish burial, the head would have been dropped forward, and you would get these proportions.

Serials - Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery
CNN shows by David Gibson and Michael McKinley 
Produced by Nutopia, a British film company
© 2015 Cable News Network Inc.

companion book: Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery -
home page at CNN -
# Title Date Subjects
1 The Shroud of Turin 03/01/2015 the Shroud & Sudarium of Oviedo. -- Review by John C. Klotz
2 John the Baptist 03/08/2015 An uncovered finger bone
3 Judas 03/15/2015 The Gospel of Judas
4 Secret Brother of Jesus 03/22/2015 James ossuary
5 The True Cross 03/29/2015 venerated relics
6 Gospel of Mary Magdalene. 04/05/2015 The Gospel of Jesus' Wife

Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery: Mary Magdalene
  • Prof. Mark Goodacre, Duke University
  • Prof. Elaine Pagels, Princeton University
  • Prof. Candida Moss, University of Notre Dame
  • Prof. Kate Cooper, University of Manchester
  • Prof. Ben Witherington III, Author, The Gospel of Jesus ()
  • Prof. Byron R. McCane, Wofford College
  • Father James Martin, SJ, Author, Jesus:A Pilgrimage ()
  • Rabbi Dr. Joshua Garroway, Hebrew Union College
  • Dr. Nicola Denzey Lewis, Brown University
  • Dr. Obery Hendricks, Columbia University
  • Dr. Tim Gray. Augustine Institute
  • Rev. Paul Raushenbush, The Huffington Post
  • Erwin McManus, Author, The Artisan Soul ()
  • David Gibson, Co-Author, Finding Jesus ()
Host/Narrator: Corey Johnson.
Mary Magdalene early in the Bible
  • From Magdala in the Galilee
  • possessed by seven demons
  • [tradition - naming the demons vanquishes them]
  • Then becomes a follower of Jesus with other women
  • Unusual for a Jewish woman, she is out and about on her own
  • One of wealthy women who supported Jesus
  • Joanna the wife of Herod, Susanna, and others
  • "If Mary had money, it came from fishing."
  • mentioned 12 times in NT, each appearance essential
The fallen woman in the Bible
  • In Luke, there's lunch at the house of the Simon the Pharisee
  • A fallen woman, a prostitute, enters with a jar of expensive perfume
  • Jesus lets her wash his feet with perfume, tears, and hair
  • Rebukes the disciples who object
  • She is saved by Jesus
  • All four Gospels tells of a woman and perfume
  • She is unnamed in all of them
Mary and the fallen woman identified

Mary Magdalene in the 13 Nag Hammadi manuscripts (1945)

The Gospel of Thomas.

  • Mary's role in the disciples antagonizes the men,
  • Peter being especially upset - irate and hotheaded, bad tempered
  • Folio 51, saying 114
  • Peter tells Mary to leave - she's a woman not worthy of them
  • Like Jewish woman are not allowed to learn Torah

The Gospel of Phillip.

  • A love relationship between Mary and Jesus
  • Many early missionaries were couples
  • Page 63-64 - Jesus calls Mary "his companion."
  • Jesus loved Mary more than the other disciples
  • He kisses her - with a void about the nature of the kiss
  • Lips? Cheek? Forehead? Feet?

Mary Magdalene late in the Bible

  • came from Galilee, all the way to Jerusalem and the cross
  • Why didn't Jesus ask her or his mother to the last supper?
  • Jesus knew his arrest was dangerous for the women (Wise)
  • Judas kiss
  • The men all flee - and they abandon him at the Cross.
  • Present at Crucifixion, Mary and other women never left his side.
  • Abandoned by all of his male disciples.
  • Body removed from cross, enshrouded, entombed, enstoned.
  • Two days later, Sunday morning, Mary visits the tomb.
  • She wants to anoint him.
  • She thinks people have stolen the body.
  • She thinks she sees a guard. What has he done with the body?
  • The man speaks her name, "Mary," and she recognizes her Lord.
  • She wants to hug him, but he's not ready for that.
  • Then she is the 1st person to see Jesus Resurrected.
  • Mary Magdalene, for this hour, is the Church.
  • Then Mary vanishes from the New Testament.
  • Peter becomes the leader of the Church and the first bishop of Rome.

The Gospel of Mary.

  • bought in 1896, published in 1955
  • first gospel found to bear the name of a woman
  • just a few pages remain of a once long book
  • Takes up after the Resurrection
  • Mary is now the instructor, who speaks with authority,
  • angering the men, especially Peter
  • leading to a major argument with Peter
  • She is a leader in the early church, doing her own teaching
  • BUT dates from 150 AD

An alternative Mary Magdalene

  • She is not young.
  • She is elderly, a rich widow who supported the ministry.
  • Maybe an independent businesswoman in her 60s.
  • She vanishes because she dies.

Serials - Jesus: Rise to Power
[ sub-menu ] - site - site - [ top-menu ]
National Geographic Channel
Copyright 2012 - Parthenon Entertainment Ltd
# Title Date Subjects
1 Messiahs 3/28/2013 - 8 p.m.  
2 Martyrs 3/28/2013 - 9 p.m.  
3 Christians 3/28/2013 - 10 p.m.  
Narrator: Michael Scott
"It would be almost tempting to critique this [show] as just another prime time network slam against Christianity timed for a Christian holiday.  It aired on Maundy Thursday during Holy Week. *** Mercifully, there are no pompous prognostications from Jesus Seminar scholars like Dominic Crossan or Marcus Borg." -- Mark Tooley.

Jesus: Rise to Power: Episode 1 - Messiahs


Jesus: Rise to Power: Episode 2 - Martyrs
  • John Curran, Senior Lecturer, Romano-Jewish history,
    • Queen's University, Belfast - [ page at Queen's ]
  • Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion,
    • Princeton University
  • Prof Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
  • Laura Nasrallah, New Testament and Early Christianity,
    • Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University
  • Mark Humphries, Professor of Ancient History, Swansea Univsersity
  • Dirk Obbink, Lecturer in Papyrology, Director of Imaging Papyri,
    • University of Oxford

But scholars say the Romans were tolerant, never against the law to be Christian, and did not put Christians to death.

112 AD - Pliny letter to Trajan, how deal with Christians, and Trajan writes back to Pliny in Bithynia: unless they break laws, they are not to be hunted down.

He even bans anonymous accusations made against them.

If they do break a law, then if they swear to Roman gods, they are to be released.

Christians will not perform blood sacrifice - a requirement for Romans, and they meet in secret.

WOW!! Trajan rejects Pliny's request to start a fire brigade. For a fire brigade is a gathering, and where there is a gathering, there could be political unrest

So he's not going to allow Christians to met in private.

180 AD - Celsus describes what some say Christians are up to - all kinds of barbarity, devouring flesh of children, sex with women. They are cannibals, why they meet in secret and at night. And those kisses of peace.

The Christians are not engaging in religio, but superstitio.

And they write about the Roman gods in an aggressive way -- they are barbarous and cruel and immoral. They don't deserve to be gods. So the Christians courted trouble, It is a missionary religion.

They divide up families.

Still, no records of state persecution for 150 years.

165 - Plague. Kills millions and millions. Worst epidemic in ancient history,and through charity works, Christians get noted and make converts.

Lyon, France - Roman mobs spearhead one of the bloodiest persecutions of the century. There is a crypt there dedicated to the martyred It could have been for racial or economic reasons.

The bishop was Irenaeus. Gives a positive spin to the massacre. He starts declaring the texts of the new Bible.

Septimus Severus

203 AD, Carthage - Perpetua whipped in Roman arena, then killed when she puts the reluctant gladiator's sword to her own throat.

IRONY: As Christians wish to be martyred, Romans are reluctant to kill them.

Tertullian tells of Arius Antoninus , a governor in Asia Minor gets impatient with the numbers of Christians wishing to be martyred. "There are plenty of trees to hang yourselves from." Christians now want fervently to be martyred. A cult of self-sacrifice. This is crazy to the Romans.

149 AD - Decius - a time of crisis for Rome. Back to basics - sacrifice, necessary for the state, and has a receipt, a libellus (libelli), issued for each sacrifice done. Litigation! Pagans sacrifice for Christian friends, or officials are bribed to issue the libellus, sacrifice fraud.

Jesus: Rise to Power: Episode 3 - Christians
  • Kate Cooper, Professor of Ancient History, University of Manchester
  • Doctor Neil Faulkner, Archaeologist and Historian
  • Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion,
    • Princeton University
  • Adrian Murdoch, Fellow of Royal Historical Society
This epic story has one outcome, but two different, often contradictory, accounts. Why?

Diocletian - 284-305 -

Rome had had troubles, and now the pagan gods are needed even more, but the entrails of the sacrifices cannot be read because of the Christians.

He sets up the Tetrarchy - Roman Empire divided into four,

Now anti-Christian reality is catching up to the propaganda.

The Great Persecution - a defining moment in Rome.

Eusebius of Caesarea, bishop, writes a report on it, more brutal than ever.

Mar Saba, Judean Desert, old monastery, 180 years after G.P., but monasticism gets a start during it,

But did Eusebius exaggerate?

311 - Persecution comes to a close, Church never so strong,

312 - Constantine emperor. His mother, Helena, memorializes stations of the cross over the East. Now Christians are players in politics. But Christians seem hell-bent on making life difficult for Constantine. What is the nature of Jesus himself?

325 - Nicaea - you assholes are fighting over trivia. Constantine sits before his bishops, takes their appeals, and, one by one, burns them before them, [HUH?] Constantine opens the purse strings for his favored bishops to rebuild the Church.

10% of 50 million in the empire are Christian, and Constantine cannot alienate the majority. He does not give up his title, Pontifex Maximus.

Julian - his family killed off by Constantine, himself spared because he was sickly. He hates Christianity.

361 - Julian has a teacher, Maximus, who initiated him into a pagan cult, down into the pit with an ox sacrificed above them. Wanted to marginalize Christians, not destroy them.

How show the power of the Roman gods? By a great victory, defeating Persia, which Constantine could not do. But he dies in battle.

Theodosius and Ambrosia

379 - Theodosius - monks grow more fanatical, pagans are percecuted, and Christians fight Christians, but he mandates the Nicene Creed. How be an Emperor and a Christian?

He sends troops to quell a riot in Thessalonikao - and they kill 7,.000.

Bishop Ambrose of Milan confronts him. Conflict of Church vs State. Theodosius performs penance in presence of Ambrose.

OR: He gets Ambrose to refuse him communion.

Church is now an instrument in the state apparatus. In sanctioning Theodosius's plea-bargain, Ambrose has revealed to the Emperor just how far he will go to earn a share of power. By performing this act of deception, far from Rome being Christianized, the Church has played straight into the hands of the State.

Being second among equals will soon be beneficial for the Church.

391 - Theodosius bans pagan worship. Oracles fall silent.

Serials - National Geographic Presents
[ sub-menu ] - [ top-menu ]
These are sometimes called, "Mysteries of the Bible."
Produced by National Geographic Television and Film
© 2006 NGHT, Inc.
# Title Date Subjects
1 Lost Cities of the Bible. 11/7/2006  
2 Exodus Revealed. 11/14/2006  
3 Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2006  
4 The Hunt for the Lost Ark. 2006  
5 Doomsday: Book of Revelations 11/21/2006  
Narrator: J . V. Martin

"National Geographic Channel Presents
Lost Cities of the Bible"



  • Dr. Bryant Wood, Archaeologist,
    • Director of the inerrantist Associates for Biblical Research
    • "He is known for his 1990 re-dating of the destruction of Jericho to accord with the biblical chronology of ca. 1400 BC. His proposal contradicts the dating of ca. 1550 BC., as proposed by Kathleen Kenyon."

(1) Sodom

Bab edh-dhra was excavated in 1907. It was a vast cemetery, abandoned in 2350 BC. A city on a hill overlooked it.

What destroyed it? Most likely, a volcano. But there is no volcano near the Dead Sea.

(2) Jericho

was built on a natural fault line, like San Francisco.

It is the oldest inhabited city in the world - 10,000 years.

Suddenly, an earthquake felled the walls and a landslide stopped up the river, just in time for Joshua to cross over.

This was after the spring harvest, just the wrong time for an invasion. They have food and you do not.

The wheat and barley remained. There was no looting.

(3) Mashkan-Shapir.

built over a pool of natural gas, so when an earthquake shook the city, it would only take a spark to ignite the gas, the oil, and the sulfur (brimstone) and start an inferno.

Like the Kuwait fires in the Gulf War, it blocks the sun and the stars.

Never rebuilt.

Could this have happened to Sodom and Gomorrah?

(4) Numeira.

Skeletons found in the open a tower collapsed.

Another earthquake under a exploding gases, tar, and sulfur.

"National Geographic Channel Presents Exodus Revealed"
Season 1, Episode 2

Expert Believers:

"When it comes to the miracles of Exodus, explanations abound - from the sublime to the ridiculous."

(I) The Burning Bush

Humphreys: there was a natural gas leak under it.

  • "Natural gas is common in the Middle East."
  • "The most common bush in the desert is the acacia bush."
  • Burning acacia bush gives charcoal, which retains its shape, rather than crumbling.
  • "We've reproduced scientifically what Moses may have seen."
[So why didn't this happen all the time?]

(II) The Ten Plagues of Egypt.

Notes on the Plagues
3 kinim usually, lice, gnats, or fleas.
4 ‘arob mixture, swarm, interpreted as "animals capable of harming people and livestock" - either "wild animals" or "flies" affecting only the Egyptians

The stable fly is not the same as the horse fly.
5 plague the plague affected (2) animals only and (2) only Egyptian livestock. The animals of the Hebrews were not affected.
6 šheḥin  boils affecting Egyptians only.
7 storm thunderstorm of hail and fire - destroys orchards, crops, livestock, and people in all of Egypt except for the Land of Goshen.
God hardens Pharaoh's heart
9 darkness for three days, but the Hebrews had light in their homes

Let the naturalistic begin:

1 - 6 are "an ecological domino effect"
1 blood John Marr has seen millions of fish die in red waters from a profusion of red algae, called red tide. You don't see the microscopic algae, but collectively they turn the water red.
2 frogs (1) fish are a natural check on the frog population
(2) if fish die, millions of frogs will hop on to the land
3 kinim kinim are lice, gnats, or fleas.
Biting midges, misidentified, feast on the frogs
4 swarms stable flies feast on the dead frogs
5 plague camels, horses, oxen, sheep - the biting midges spread bluetongue and African horse sickness.
6 boils stable flies carry anthrax to humans and animals.
8 locusts devour Egypt's countryside and its food supply.
9 dark said here to be a sandstorm.
10 death Bubonic plague [metaphor] or mold [literal]

(1) Marr on the Red Tide:

  1. Red tide is associated with salt water.
  2. In 1995 in a coastal river in North Carolina a billion fish die; the water turns red.
  3. Pfiesteria, a micro-organism, "the cell from hell."

(3) Lockwood on Lice:

  • No one species of lice attacks both animals and humans.
  • Two simultaneous outbreaks would be "unlikely."
  • Word for lice described "any blood sucking insect."
  • The biting midge, Culicoides, as small as lice, feeds on animals and humans.
  • Blood feeders with mouths like tiny swords

(4) Lockwood on Flies:

  • two consecutive insect outbreaks had to be more than a coincidence.
  • A dead frog does double duty for a fly outbreak.
  • If they're dead, they're not eating flies and they are habitat good for flies.

(5) Plagues on the livestock:

(6) Anthrax can cause lesions and boils

  • Flies could have carried it efficiently to the animals and the humans.
  • House flies vs. stable flies - which is better disease transmitter?

A neat experiment:

  • Lockwood dies house flies and stable flies different colors.
  • When put on his arm, will the flies transmit the color to his skin?
  • The stable flies break the skin and leave the most powder.

(7) Storm of Hail and lightning - anything here?

(8) More locusts in a swarm than there were humans on earth at the time of the exodus. Eat the wheat, then go after clothing, leather goods, baskets - anything organic and not moving is food for locusts. The last of the food supply. Starvation loomed.

(9) Darkness - anything here? Just a "sandstorm."

(10) Blaser on the Bubonic Plague - the Black Death in Europe (1346-1353).

  • Bubonic plague spread by the bites of fleas, carried into human homes by rats.
  • 1/4 of Europe in the Middle Ages, but in some cities killing Jews at half the rate of the rest of the population.
  • Every spring Jews clean out stored grain. Even non-Jews living among them had to do it.
  • Jews had figured out the relationship between grain and plague
  • Eliminate grain, keep rats and fleas under control
  • But the selectivity of the death of the first-born? Blaser believes this was metaphorical for killing one out of three or four.

(10) Marr on the death of the first-born

  • Grain saturated by hailstorms and stored in darkness was susceptible to mold.
  • Rare mold can cause internal hemorrhaging.
  • Moldy, toxin-laden grain causes instant death.
  • The eldest get a double portion of food in time of famine.

(III) The Parting of the Red Sea

(28:45) Humphreys - setdown:

  • In the Bible, a strong east wind forced the waters of the river back, a precise description of wind setdown. It can expose a ridge of land under water.
  • [Wikipedia on Wave setup and wave setdown, properties of fluid dynamics. ]

McCoy - tsunami:

  • before a tsunami, the water disappears - a water drawdown. A wave is sinusoidal -- trough and crest. If the trough comes first, that's drawdown. So a giant wave comes ashore, and if the trough is first, the water draws down. The Jews escape. Then comes the crest and kills the Egyptians.
  • This means a big tsunami.
  • Caused by a big event like an earthquake, asteroid impact, volcanic eruption.
  • Santorini/Thera - 24,000 megaton eruption.
  • When the plume, ash, and the pyroclastic flows hit the water, tsunami.
  • Santorini debris would head directly to Nile delta.
  • What a coincidence!
  • But we don't know the dates of each event.

So what is the date of Santorini?

The eruption occurred during the "Late Minoan IA" period at Crete and the "Late Cycladic I" period in the surrounding islands.

Archaeological evidence, based on the established chronology of Bronze Age Mediterranean cultures, dates the eruption to around 1500 BC

Radiocarbon dating puts the eruption at about 1645–1600 BC

Around the time of the radiocarbon-indicated date of the eruption, there is evidence for a significant climatic event in the Northern Hemisphere. The evidence includes failure of crops in China, as well as evidence from tree rings. The tree rings date the climatic event to 1628 BC.

(40:30) O'Meara on an underwater volcano.

  • Lava produces a new land bridge that will not last long.
  • Red Sea, part of Great African Rift System with volcanic history.
  • "The Bible is just filled with volcanic references, and especially in Exodus, parting of Red Sea, pillars of fire, mountains quaking, voice of God, burning bushes."
  • "Listen to this lava flow -- it's talking to you."

(IV) There is no agreement on the route the Israelites took out of Egypt.

  • Wind set down requires a shallow body of water. Route across central Sinai
  • Tsunami requires a route along the coast.
  • Lava bridge requires the crossing across the Gulf of Aqaba.

(V) The Red Sea is a mistranslation for the Sea of Reeds.

  • Yam Supf is Sea of Reeds [ Moshier and Hoffmeier ]
  • Finding this Sea of Reeds is no easy task.
  • Nile Delta was different 3,000 years ago.

(VI) Believers still try to overcome the silence of Archaeology.

  • Stephen Moshier
  • Old cold war spy satellite photos show desert before recent development.
  • Old bodies of water revealed.
  • Was it a "swamp, a stream, a lake bed, or a marine lagoon?"
  • M&H regard Lake Ballah, found in the photos, as a hypothetical Yom Suph.
  • No Israeli artifacts.

(52:30) EXCEPT - Cornuke claims artifacts of the Exodus.

  • Isaiah quotes God saying he will "build them a roadway through the sea."
  • down Sinai peninsula, crossing at bottom of Gulf of Aqaba. Shallow reefs there, lots of beached ships.
  • In the cliffs, hundreds of pieces of bronze. Remains of the pharaoh?
  • Hundreds of handcrafted stones, small discs -- for grounding manna?
  • Cornuke had not released his findings to scientists.

(VII) Non-believers says the silence is truthful.

Cooney : that bronze is not organic, not dateable

Not a single artifact has been found that could be linked to the Biblical Exodus.

The silence of Egypt is telling.

Embarrassment? Egyptian bureaucrats did keep records of bad things happening, "civil war, unrest, foreign incursion, people coming in and taking Egypt over."

1600 BC Israelites perhaps in Egypt; 1207 - first mention of them. Perhaps waves of migrations of small numbers of people over hundreds of years, retelling their story until it became an epic.

National Geographic Channel Presents
"Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls"
Personae Experts:
  • Dr. Eric Cline, George Washington University
  • Pnina Shore, Head, Artifacts Treatment & Conservation Department,
    • Israel Antiquities Authority
  • Dr Stephen Pfann, President, University of the Holy Land, Jerusalem
  • Adolpho Roitman, Curator, Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum
  • Prof. Emanuel Tov, Editor-in-Chief, Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project
  • Dr. Bruce Zuckerman, Director, West Semitic Research Project (WSRP),
    • University of Southern California [ USC page ]
  • Dr. Jodi Magness, Archaeologist, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Katharina Galor, Archaeologist, Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies,
    • Brown University
  • Robert Feather, Author [The Mystery of the Copper Scroll of Qumran (2003)]
  • Michael Baigent, Author [ The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) ]
  • Dr. Oren Gutfeld, Archaeologist, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1947 - Bedouin boy found the scrolls in Qumran, which his friend, Mohamed el-Dhib, sold for four dollars to a shoemaker in Bethlehem. This was just before Israel came into being.

The books

  • 900 texts in Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
  • 80% parchment, 20% papyrus, both organic materials.
  • All the books of the OT except Esther.
  • Copper scroll with its treasure map
  • Levitical scroll,
  • Psalm scroll,
  • the Temple Scroll (24 feet long) where Moses got instructions on how the Temple should be built, details and measurements, a "second Torah."

The People

  • they rejected the corruption of the Temple in Jerusalem and its wicked priest
  • Fled to the desert near Qumran, under their Teacher of Righteousness
  • The Essenes, mentioned by Josephus, might be these people.
  • They believed in the conflict between Good and Evil and the End of Days.
  • They flourished at the time of Jesus. Any influence on Christians?

The Restoration

  • 1954 - classified ad in WSJ offering four scrolls for sale. Bought anonymously for $250,000. It took 40 years to translate them. People worried, but there are 900 texts broken into 15,000 brittle pieces.
  • Kept under silk sheets, eventually they will disintegrate.
  • Zuckerman makes digital copies, read with narrow-band infra-red imaging
  • Database of all scroll fragments.

The place at Qumran

  • Father Roland Guérin de Vaux, French Dominican priest, supervised Qumran excavation
  • 10 pool for ritual baths
  • Scriptorum - A room with long tables and benches for copying scrolls
  • Pottery in communal meal rooms - 1,000 dishes neatly stacked. Communal meals substitute for Temple sacrifices.
  • Inkwells - rare finds in Israel.
  • But still no proof they were Essenes.

1952 - the Copper scroll discovered.

  • 99.9% pure copper
  • how learn to engrave on it
  • why would an ascetic sect have a treasure map?
  • Too brittle to be unrolled, it had to be cut into 29 pieces.

Robert Feather on the Copper Scroll:

  • There are 14 Greek letters among the Hebrew.
  • 10 of them make up the name, Akhenaten.
  • These Jews reverenced Akhenaten as creator of monotheism.
  • Cline: this is "absolutely ludicrous." It's a thousand years later.
  • Feather: It's a copy of an earlier document.

Feather's idea of a Qumran youth for Jesus has problems:

  • Essenes loved cleanliness; Jesus embraced lepers.
  • Essenes shunned tax collectors; Jesus recruited from among tax collectors.
  • Essenes hated the "people of the pit"; Jesus said, love your enemies.
  • Michael Baigent: "Son of God," at Qumran, could refer to a mortal.
  • Feather claim: Catholic Church got control of the scrolls out of fear of contradiction.
  • Emanuel Tov - this is nonsense. No scholar would be part of that
  • Eshel: No scroll sheds negative light on Christian belief.

68 AD - Qumran destroyed at time of First Jewish Revolt, which ended at Masada.

If the Essenes died at Masada, that would explain why the Scrolls were left there.

National Geographic Channel Presents
"The Hunt for the Lost Ark"

Expert Scholars:

  • Prof. Eric Cline, Archaeologist, The George Washington University
  • Rev. Phillip Francis, All Saints Church, Burton Dassett, UK
  • Rev. Richard Livingston, St. Mary's Church, Langley, UK

Expert Amateurs

Expert Believers:

Cline: "no historical precedent for the 10 Commandments."

Specific instructions to build the Ark to carry the Commandments, and only the Levites could carry it. It was covered in blue cloth, since no one could look upon it.

Moses's nephews making sacrifice to the Ark were incinerated.

The Ark fell the walls of Jericho.

300 years later, the Ark abandoned the Israelites. When the priests failed in their sacrifices to the Ark, the Ark allowed the Philistines to defeat them. The Philistines too the Ark, then sent it back 7 months later.

Solomon built a Temple to house the Ark. 20 stories tall. Only the High Priest could approach it in the Holy of Holies. It was placed there in 955 BC

Nothing is said of it after 620 BC - after the reign of Josiah.

  • Was it an attack by Shishak? Decades after Temple was built. 1000, BC - inspiration for Indiana Jones. But he never really captured Jerusalem, just got tribute sent to him, and they would hardly send the Ark.
  • Did the Babylonians take it in 587? They leave no record of it.
  • (24:10) Timkat - Ethiopian Festival - They have the Ark in Axum. The Queen of Sheba's son, Menelik, stole it away, leaving a replica in its place. But there is no historical record of a Queen of Sheba.
  • Menasseh came to power before the Babylonian invasion. He installs a pagan idol in the holy of holies. So the priests had to take the Ark out of there fast, Found Jewish temple on Elephantine island, only Jewish temple outside Jerusalem. The only reason for it would be to house the Ark.
  • Then the priests had to flee again. Egypt no longer safe. Maybe Ethiopia on Lake Tana. Another story of the Ark there.
  • Hidden under the Temple Mount before Babylon attacked?
  • (37:00) Found and taken away by the Knights Templar? They were exterminated by the 1300s.
  • More stories about the Templars in Europe.


  • The Ark is based on ancient Egyptian boxes shrines overlaid with gold and a statue of an Egyptian deity.
  • Because Moses had been raised Egyptian,, he kept Egyptian ideas.
  • Tesla: the Ark was a capacitor
  • Andrews: generating electricity from wool rubbing on gold.
  • Uzzah killed simply by trying to keep it from falling.

Gershon Salomon: "Time is short." Destroy the Dome of the Rock. The Ark is waiting for us under the Temple Mount.

National Geographic Channel Presents
"Doomsday: Book of Revelation"
Produced by Morningstar Entertainment
© MMVI NGC Network International, LLC and NGC Network US, LLC.

Personae: Experts
  • Dr. Lawrence H. Shiffman, Prof. of Hebrew & Judaic Studies,
    • New York University
  • Lee Quinby, Zicklin Chair, Brooklyn College
  • Ron J. Bigalke, Jr., Associate Prof., Tyndale Theological Seminary
  • Catherine Keller, Professor of Theology, Drew University
  • Greg Carey, PHD, Lancaster Theological Seminary
  • Carole R. Fontaine, PhD, Andover Newton Theological School
  • Kristi Barrett Copeland, Intro. to Humanities Fellow, Stanford University
  • Jonathan L. Reed, Author, In Search of Paul ()
  • Dr. Alan Meenan, Founder, The World is Out


  • Jack Kinsella, Omega Letter.
  • Thomas Ice, Director of the Pre-Trib Research Center
  • Jason Boyett, Author, Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse ()

Is Revelation a prophecy of things to come, or it it history, come and gone?



"Apocalyptic texts address the issues of their own age. So the New Testament Apocalypse addresses Roman issues. It's about the hope that Christians can have in the midst of persecution in that Roman world.


Almost 27% of the entire Bible is prophetic in nature. I don't see how you can interpret the Bible any other way than literally. If God gives his word to us, he would give it to us in a way we would understand.


Most people see Revelation referring to a catastrophic end-time event and it predicts the future. Scholarship see Revelation as being addressed to its own circumstances, a call to faith for the early Christians living in Asia Minor.


John pictures the end of time, but also the destruction of the Roman Empire. This is hopeful..

Meenan - Two Johns involved here

The Greek of the Gospel of John is pure and simple Greek.
The Greek of the Book of Revelation is really quite atrocious.


But Jesus gives signs of the end time in Matthew. Pretty vivid.

(1) The Rapture

Believers will be taken to heaven in the Rapture. Only the nonbelievers will be left to face the end of the world. (Ice)

The word Rapture appears nowhere. It was invented in 1830 by John Nelson Darby who put together phrases of Paul and making them a single event. (Keller)

(2) Seven Years of Tribulation.

    1. White horse - conquest
    2. Red horse - war
    3. Black horse - The horseman's scale is economic collapse, hunger, famine
    4. Pale horse - Death sits upon him.

Who are the four horsemen to the Romans? They sound like the Parthians, attacking the Roman legions.

(3) The Beast

["anti-Christ" never appears in Revelation]

A rock star, most popular man on earth, charismatic world ruler who causes suffering. Also, he had seven heads and ten horns.

(4) The number of the Beast

His number is 666. If this is gematria, 666 is "Neron Caesar" in Hebrew.

N E R O N   C A E S A R
nun heb heb   nun   heb     heb   heb
50 200 6   50   100     60   200

Why does one have 4 letters and the other 3?

(5) The mark of the Beast

Everyone alive must accept the mark of the beast - right hand or forehead.

Everyone then had a mark to identify themselves.

(6) The Third Temple Built

Christ will makes himself object of worship

70 - Great Jewish Rebellion ended, second temple destroyed

The return of the Jews to Israel is a sign of the last days

The Dome of the Rock is in the way.

(7) Armageddon - the Final Battle


Then the final face-off between Christ and the Beast. The Beast loses.

(8) An eternity of peace.

(9) And it's all coming soon.


"This is the last generation of human beings before the return of Christ."

The Taborites

thought it was the end in the 15th century.

William Miller

(1) the Rapture will occur between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844
(2) Then October 22, 1844.

He has 50,000 disciples. They give away their possessions and buy "ascension robes." They are waiting. This is the Great Disappointment.

Miller predicts it every year until he dies.

Many early Fathers objected to the Book of Revelation. Perhaps its author saw what the clerics missed. Every great book needs a big finish.


Serials - Secrets of the Bible
[ sub-menu ] - home page at AHC - [ top-menu ]
Produced for AHC by WMR Productions & IMG.
© MMXIV Discovery Communications, LLC
Season 1
# Title Date Subjects
1 The Staff of Moses 12/14/2014  
2 Parting of the Reed Sea 12/21/2014  
3 The Fall of Jericho 12/28/2014 Bryant Wood's Literal Belief
4 The Turin Shroud. 01/04/2015  
5 Tudor Parfitt/Lost Tribes 01/11/2015 The Lemba of Zimbabwe
6 The Real Exodus? 01/18/2015  
7 The Great Flood 02/08/2015 Happened on the Black Sea
8 The Stone of Jacob 02/15/2015 traveling piece of sandstone
9 Temple of Solomon Mystery 02/22/2015 The Jehoash Tablet
10 The Tower of Babel 03/01/2015 David Rohl's Chronology
11 The Holy Grail 03/08/2015 It's an idea - love.
12 The Ten Plagues of Egypt 03/15/2015 Naturalistic
13 The Search for Sodom 03/22/2015  
Narrator: .Matt K. Baker

Secrets of the Bible - The Staff of Moses
[ aka "The Ups and Downs of an Historical Detective" ]
  • Giovanni Belzoni (1778-1823), archaeologist of Egyptian antiquities
  • David Roberts (1796-1864) Scottish painter, finds staff in 1812
  • John Kinnear, friend of David.
  • John Wilson, collector of antiquities, buys staff from Kinnear
  • Earl of Devon of Powderham Castle buys it from Wilson.
  • Stanley May, American collector of Antiquities, buys it in 1912
  • Edward Ayrton (1882-1914), a British archaeologist
  • Graham Phillips, Historical Detective from Birmingham
  • Dr Hywel Clifford, University of Oxford [ glasses, dark gray shirt ]
  • David Rohl, Author, The Lost Testament [ balding with trim beard ]
  • Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, University of Exeter
  • Prof Eric Cline, George Washington University
  • Dr. Martin Worthington, University of Cambridge
    • [ page at Cambridge - looks 14 years old ]
  • Tim Maltin, Maritime Historian [ glasses, open shirt and coat ]
  • Dr Aidan Dodson, University of Bristol [ glasses, bald, green shirt ]

Graham's reasoning.

" If the story of Moses is true, then Phillips believes his staff could still be out there --- somewhere. He's determined to track it down."

"Moses is the founder of the Israelite religion, the character that seems to have started it all."

  • After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled to Midian.
  • He stayed there for 40 years.
  • He was an old man when he hears the burning bush and got the staff.
  • What was God waiting for? He had a religion to start.

(15:35) After the Red Sea, there is another wandering for 40 years.

  • Moses dies before the Chosen Ones enter the Pro misted Land.
  • The staff vanishes from history - a "great mystery of the Bible."
  • Assumed that it was buried with him, a common Israelite practice.
  • So where is the grave of Moses?
  • "No man knows the grave of Moses," says the bible, except that
    • it's near the grave of Aaron,
    • who was buried on Mount Hor aka Jabal Haroun.
    • near to Beth Peor, the "house of the snake."

Mt. Hor

  • overlooks Row City of Petra in Jordan,
  • rock carvings built by the Nabateans in the 3rd century BC.
  • "one of the wonders of the world."
  • Nearby are Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses) and
  • Ain Musa (spring of Moses), which Moses created with his staff.
  • There are Arab stories of the Israelites being in Petra during the Wandering.

(27:15) More clues from the Bible pay off.

  • "Moses was buried [near] Beth-Peor (place of the snake)." - Deuteronomy
  • In the Wilderness, "Moses built a magical icon of a snake." - Numbers
  • In the shadow of Mt. Hor is a massive statue shaped like a coiled snake.
  • Phillips: "This was the high point of my whole life."
  • Endless caves around the snake monument.
  • But Jordan does not allow archaeology.

Phil ips returns to the books in Birmingham.

  • Some reject Beth-Peor as house of the snake.
  • Worthington says, "peor" does not mean "snake."
  • In 1839, Roberts and Kinnear found a tomb behind the snake monument.
  • The did excavations in Petra that are not allowed today.
  • They found a black-painted staff.
  • (38:10) Phillips follows the staff through a half-dozen changes of hands.
  • First, Phillips is shocked that May took the staff with him on the Titanic.
  • But, thankfully, Phillips missed that historic voyage.
  • The Mays took a driving tour through England.
  • "The survival of the staff is a miracle worthy of the Bible."
  • May sells the staff to Edward Ayrton.
  • His artifacts gifted to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
  • But the staff stayed in England - across the street in Birmingham museum!

There it is - in the Egyptian Gallery.

"'Astonished' is not the word I would use. 'Knocked out' is probably closer to it."

  • The staff looks new.
  • The staff has hieroglyphics, not Hebrew letters.
  • The inscribed hieroglyphs are painted a dazzling white.
  • They says that it belongs to Thutmosis, a steward of the Pharaoh's daughter

(51:40) Could the Egyptian steward be Moses?

  • Moses was a commander of forces, not just a noble, says Josephus
  • In 1360, a Thutmosis was a general and a steward for Amenhotep IV.
  • Giovanni Belzoni found the tomb of Thutmosis,
  • but not his body, meaning that he was disgraced, probably exiled.
  • If he drops the Thoth (moon), he is just Moses.
  • If he rejected Egyptian gods, he would be disgraced.
  • The Exodus occurred around 1350.
  • This is too much of a coincidence.- Phillips
  • "It all begins to make sense." - Narrator

Some are unconvinced.

Dodson : Belzoni did not find the tomb of a Thutmosis. We have good records of what he found. All the evidence for it has been made up. And Thutmose was a common name.

Phillips: Belzoni found the tomb prepared for him.

Birmingham Museum is not convinced.

Phillips admits the staff could be a Victorian forgery by Roberts and Kinnear.

No carbon-14 test has ever been done.

Secrets of the Bible - The Parting of the Red Sea


Secrets of the Bible: The Fall of Jericho
Personae: Experts:
  • Dr Casey Strine, University of Sheffield - [ page at Sheffield ]
  • Richard A. Gabriel, Military Historian
  • Prof Eric Cline, George Washington University
  • Prof Shmulik Marco, Tel Aviv University
  • Joel Kramer, Archaeologist


  • Dr Bryant Wood, Archaeologist (& ex-nuclear engineer)
  • Faith Wood, Wife

This is the story of Bryant Wood,

  • the archaeologist antipode to Israel Finkelstein.
  • For him, the story is true, word for word in the Bible.
  • He becomes an expert on Canaanite pottery, used to date everything in Palestine.

STORY: In 1406 BC, Joshua invades Canaan in the spring, just after the harvest. The waters of the Jordan part for him, one of the great miracles of the Bible. He sends spies into Jericho, who find Rahab, the prostitute with a heart of gold. She hangs a red sash from her window so that her life will be spared. The Israelites burn down the city and slaughter every being alive.

(13:00) TODAY: It is Tell es-sultan, the city of palm trees.

Garstang excavated in the 1930s, and pronounced the Bible accurate - Jericho fell in the 1400s, in the LBA from the pottery. He described fallen walls.

But there are many Jerichos on top of one another.

In the 1950s, Kathleen Kenyon excavated and said Garstang was wrong. She dated the pottery to 1550, in the Middle Bronze Age, not the Late Bronze Age. This could not be the city of Joshua.

There is no city for Joshua to capture. The story of Jericho did not happen. - Cline

Bryant Woods did a PhD thesis, checking the pottery dates again.

But it is hard to find the pottery. Not published, and given to people all over the place who financed Garstang.

So Woods starts to travel to find it all, including at the Louvre. He says, Kenyon had been selective in her examination of pottery. She did not examine the local pottery she had; she based her conclusion on "the absence of imported pottery."

He agrees with Garstang - 1400 BC, the time of Joshua. Here's pottery that's clearly 15th century, Wood says.


(26:00) (Richard Gabriel) Joshua is one of the greatest generals of antiquity. His spies went to a whore-house.

"The crossing of the Jordan is one of the great miracles of the Bible."

But now they must cross the River Jordan. Springtime. Snow melting. River rushing.

Then, just at the right time, just as with the Red Sea, God comes across, and parts the river.

So Woods asks if there a scientific reason for the parting of the river. Another tectonic plate, a major fault line, gives rise to earthquakes.


Gabriel: [This is not a new problem for a general.] But, commonly, generals put something upstream to break the force of the current. Porus, when he fought Alexander, used elephants to do it. Americans, in the west, put their wagons and livestock upstream.

Rahab hid Joshua's spies under the flax on her roof. Wood says this is an unusual detail to have in a story about a battle 3,500 years ago. The flax was up there for drying, after the harvest. Garstang found storage rooms with large jars of grain. Wood says this affirms attack after the spring harvest. Obvious just after the harvest, because the jars were full.

Duration of the siege? Jericho could have held out for a long time. It had a spring for water. 7 days, another precise detail. Also confirmed by the full jars of grain. The full jars meant that the siege was short.

(39:15) Collapse of the walls? Joshua marches around for six days, then seven times on the seventh day, then the shouts and trumpets cause massive walls to fall.

"presented as complete and total annihilation" (Strine)

"No one has ever denied that the walls of Jericho collapsed in ancient times."

(Eric Cline) "The walls of Jericho seemed to have tumbled down with some frequency. This was not the only time."

Wood wants another natural explanation.

Another frigging earthquake!

Jericho is very close to the River Jordan fault line, closer than SF to the San Andreas fault. Both Garstang and Kenyon found evidence of earthquake activity.

(Gabriel) Military people think this is crazy. What general would say, "We will delay the attack on Jericho until the next earthquake." A simpler explanation is possible. The destruction of the walls of Jericho is easily explainable on military terms. The story says, the spies had Rahab tie a red cord outside her window, so she will be spared in the slaughter. But, Gabriel says, Rahab put the cord outside her window outside of the walls. It could not be seen from inside the walls where it could spare her life. Instead, the red cord was to haul up into Rahab's house special commandos over seven days until they were a large enough force to launch a surprise attack, 30 to 40 Israelite soldiers, waiting for the signal to strike. The army forms again, horns blow, the spies rush to the gate and kill the guards, overtaken by a rapid combined assault. So the falling of the walls is a figure of speech.

(Wood) Another detail - Rahab's house was spared in the attack. (Not just her, but her house.) Was there a wall that did not collapse? Could that have been Rahab's wall? A mud brick wall did not collapse. Aha, that was Rahab's wall.

(52:30) One more detail. The Israelites don't plunder the grain. They leave it there. No plunder, just burning, Was the wall collapse followed by a massive fire? Kenyon says there was a fire which burned the 10 foot thick walls through and through. Wood says collapse first, then fire. Same as Kenyon.

Why the precise detail, sparing the grain. Prove the season and no plunder. They leave the grain behind. This is unusual in a war situation. We don't find it elsewhere. Shows the uniqueness of the attack and that the description is eyewitness.

Wood "has overturned 40 years of skepticism over the fall of Jericho. What a difference a shard of pottery and a grain of wheat can make."

BUT radiocarbon C14 - test results date grain to 1550 BC, plus or minus 110 years. 100 years before Joshua's time. Kenyon's dates.

Wood rejects carbon-14. It's "unreliable." A number of results have found to be unreliable.

Wood: "No archaeological find contradicts what the Bible says, The only problem is how people interpret the archaeological find."

Today, less that 50% of tell es-sultan has been excavated.


Dale Manor (YouTube) raises the question of "Rahab living in/on the wall." Some walls as wide as a single-wide motor home today, 15 - 18 feet. Houses in ancient world not typically large.

In the LBA, most fortifications, if there were any, were re-used MBA fortifications.

Exodus early date - 1 Kings 6:11 - 1400s [ 970 - 4 = 966 + 480 = 1446)
Exodus late date - Exodus 1:11 - 1200s [based on city Pi-Ramesses built]

Garstang - 1930-1936 - misdated a wall by a millennium

Kenyon - 1952-1958 - no 1400s, some 1300s, no 1200s
Excavation is expensive. Kenyon was meticulous; hence she didn't excavate much

Only a very limited amount has been excavated. We can't do much with our information.

We have found no evidence of occupation of Jericho when the Israelis arrived (on either date), but we can't say it wasn't. That's the problem of Jericho.

Secrets of the Bible - The Turin Shroud
  • Prof. Giulio Fanti, University of Padua
  • Dr. John Jackson, Turin Shroud Center of Colorado
  • Pam Moon, Shroud Expert
  • Dr Dominic Selwood, Medieval Historian
  • Tim Wallace-Murphy, Cracking the Symbol Code

The skeptic says

  • the Shroud of Turin suddenly appeared as a relic in the 1350s.
  • 1389 - letter from Bishop Peter to Pope Clement says that a predecessor, Henri of Poitiers, had found the painter who forged the shroud 30 years earlier.
  • Quality of relics in a town determined how many pilgrims they would get.
  • "Manufacturing relics was a major industry in the medieval period. There are enough vials containing the tears of Christ in Europe to float the Titanic." [TW-M]

The believer says

  • John's Gospel has lots of detail on the cloths used to bury Jesus.
  • He was buried in a clean linen cloth.
  • After 3 days, only his burial shroud is found in the tomb by John and Peter.
  • Clement is jealous because he is not getting income from it.

(14:40) 1898 - a photographic negative shows a positive image of a man.

1978-1981 - STURP in Colorado- it's real.

  • Shroud of Turin Research Project tests shroud for 5 days in 1978.
  • The red stains were not paint; they were human blood.
  • Stain distribution matches the pattern of wound from crucifixion.
  • Whip marks on body and the spear incision.
  • If a forger used paint, it should have soaked through the fibers.
  • But the body image is only on the surface of the shroud.
  • No obvious pigments making up the image.
  • So no painter could have made the shroud.

(28:25) Radio-Carbon dating - it's fake.

  • 1988 - The Church allows RC dating, which requires cutting a segment.
  • Samples sent to Tucson, Oxford, and Zurich.
  • 10/13/1988 - The Shroud is a forgery, dating to 1,260 - 1,390 AD.
  • All 3 labs got the same conclusion with 95% accuracy.

1998 - Fanti and Pam Moon suspects an error in the dating.

  • In 1532 a fire damaged the shroud which was kept in a silver reliquary.
  • The heat melted some of the silver, which then burnt through the shroud.
  • It was repaired with medieval thread by an order of nuns.
  • They rewove some of the fibers of the shroud.
  • Fanti wonders if the tested fibers are from the middle ages.
  • The test destroyed the sample, but Oxford releases photos of them.
  • Pam sees a contaminated piece of cloth - stains all over the sample, signs of hand-weaving, invisible repair, heat damage, shrinkage

Then Fanti does historical research

  • The Hungarian Pray Codex shows Jesus lying on a herringbone weave shroud with four circular marks identical to marks found on the shroud.
  • The Pray Codex is carbon dated to 1,192 - 1,195 AD
  • Other shroud-like images date to the 6th century.

(42:15) 2002 - Fanti does three tests - it's real.

  • Fanti founds a group, The Shroud Science, in Padua in 2002.
  • Ray Rogers of STURP, not an expert in sending samples, sends him one.
  • It arrived in broken glass with one image fiber he could pick out
  • (1) load-bearing test - because material strength degrades over time.
  • Fanti builds a "loading cycle" machine for the tiny sample.
  • The Load Bearing Test gives 400 AD at 95% confidence level.
  • (2) Tests for light reflectivity (reduces with age)
  • Uses an Infrared spectrometer and a laser - does that make "2 tests?"
  • The "infrared spectrometer" test date: 200-300 BC.
  • (3) What was the third test? What was the third date? Missed that.
  • The average of the 3 dates is 33 BC

Pam Moon is happy.

(54:35) But how did the image get created?

  • Modern science can not replicate the image on the shroud.
  • Fanzi is "a professor in thermal imaging."
    • A corona discharge is created by a plasma ball
    • put a cloth on the ball and you fingers on that, and you get
    • an image on a cloth with electrical charge over 24 hours.
    • It's a shallow image of the fingers.
  • Need hundreds of thousands of volts for an image of a man.
  • He gets a large image.
  • Corona discharge gives results similar to the image on the shroud.
  • In the first century, need a miracle to create the massive electrical blast.
  • That miracle was the Resurrection, depicted in the Shroud.
  • "a demonstration that a second life, after this life, exists."


Secrets of the Bible -
The Lost Tribes of Israel

[ aka Tudor Parfitt and The Lost Tribes of Israel ]
  • Mathsaya Mathiva, historian of the Lemba [played by an actor?]
  • Wilfred Poppy, "a card carrying lunatic" but informative on the Lemba
  • Tudor Parfitt, Florida International University
    • "now recognized as one of the greatest scholars of Jewish history in modern times. His discoveries show that the most outlandish of myths can turn out to be true."
  • Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, University of Exeter
  • Garth Gilmore, University of Oxford
  • Prof Karl Skorecki, Director, Techion Institute (oldest university in Israel).

This show originates the Lost Tribes in the Babylonian Conquest. [HUH?]

A tribe of Negroes in South Africa, the Lemba,

  • believe that they are a lost tribe of Israel,
  • practice circumcision and eating meat only after kosher slaughter rituals.
  • descend from 7 people who left Israel and entered Africa through Yemen,
  • also descend from the priestly class, the Cohens.
  • They revere a city named Sena, Arabic for Zion.
  • have the Ark of the Covenant, called the "Ngoma Lungundu"
  • but they can't show it to anyone.


  • Many rituals associated with the Jews were common practice across the Ancient Middle East.
  • Many tribes have tribal stories based on Bible originals.

In the field, Tudor

  • 1990 - has a police escort into the Lemba villages of Zimbabwe through the "bandit-ridden countryside."
  • receives a welcome feast from the Lemba with the sacrifice of a ram,
  • its throat cut on a rounded rock, blood covering the rock like a Kosher ritual.
  • travels to Aden in Yemen, where he finds a "Sena" connected to the Sea.
  • Some Yemenes have names that are clan names of the Lemba.

(20:45) In Israel, in 2000, Tudor Parfitt

  • tests their Y-chromosomes, the male chromosome passed on unchanged,
  • Lemba men match the Cohens in Israel too closely to be a result of chance.
  • "Few now question that the Lemba are a lost tribe of Israel."
  • The Cohens are said be descended from Aaron, brother of Moses,
  • and so too are the Lemba.

On his own, Tudor tries to find the Ark. It turns out that

  1. There was the permanent chest in the Temple, and
  2. the Arks taken into battle.
  3. The Ark is sometimes described as an instrument, using a word which can mean "to ring out" or "to make a sound.
  4. which may connect the Ark with a musical instrument.

(47:00) Locals object to his presence, tell him to vanish, set up an armed roadblock against him, which he luckily makes his way through, all the shots missing him.

(52:30) Then he spends 7 more years without any luck. At a dead end, he hears from a stranger in a bar about the Zimbabwe museum..

:He finds one of the battle arks

  • in a storeroom in the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences,
  • a large but broken wooden bowl, which by carbon-14, dates to 1350 AD.
  • one of the oldest wooden objects in Africa,
  • the "Ngoma Lungundu".
  • Put a leather skin over that bowl and you have a large drum.
  • Parfitt says that, in the Bible, the Ark is not always a chest.
  • It's taken into battle, where it always brings victory,
  • The Arks of battle were often being destroyed and rebuilt.

So, all this time, the Lemba have been ambiguous about their "Ark."

  • Is any drum taken into battle an Ark?
  • it was in some museum all this time waiting for Parfitt to find it.
  • And now, before it can be put on permanent display, it's gone again!
  • Robert Mugabe is said to have taken it.

There's no end to this story.

Secrets of the Bible - The Real Exodus
  • Alois Musil, early 20th century adventurer from Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • Sir Colin Humphreys, man of faith and man of science
  • Prof David Pyle, University of Oxford [ open collar tee-shirt ]
  • Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, University of Exeter
  • Prof Eric Cline, George Washington University
  • Dr Aidan Dodson, University of Bristol
  • Dr Hywel Clifford, University of Oxford
  • Peter Harrigan, Author


The Red Sea (the Erythraean Sea), is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia.

The connection to the ocean is in the south through

In the north, there is

The Red Sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift of the Great Rift Valley.

Traditional route of the Exodus:

  • Israelites leave "Ramses" in the northeastern Nile Delta
    • [ This is Pi-Ramesses, built by Ramesses II]
  • First stop is Succcoth or El-Maskhuta, on the edge of the Delta.
  • Next is Etham, a name in the Bible only.
  • cross the Northern tip of the Gulf of Suez,
  • where "the greatest miracle in the Old Testament occurs"
  • head to the south of the Sinai Peninsula,
  • and reach Mount Sinai.

Says Cline, the skeptic,

"People trying to find things like the real Mt. Sinai are essentially wasting their time. No professional archaeologist ever joins these expeditions. There's no point to it."

Humphreys says, science can find Mount Sinai,

  • the identification of the mountain of Moses with Mt. Sinai is only 1800 years old.
  • 3rd c. AD - Christian hermits lived at Jebel Musa in caves and tents, and they said this is Mount Sinai
  • Sinai, with St. Catherine's Monastery at its foot, cannot be the real mountain

(16:20) The Israelites may have never entered the Sinai Peninsula.

  • Humphreys questions the identify of Etham in the Route.
  • From an old map of 1879, he finds El Yitm Peak, 180 miles from Succoth,
  • El Yitm can be pronounced "Etham."
  • It is right above the Gulf of Aqaba, the eastern rabbit ear.
  • Bible says, Israelites used the "Desert Road" to the Red Sea,
  • a well-known trade route of the time
  • going from the top of the Gulf of Suez across the top of the Sinai Peninsula.
  • So the Israelites bypassed the whole of the Sinai Peninsula.

So where was the parting of the Red Sea?

  • Red Sea is the biggest mistranslation in the Bible.
  • Yam Suph is the Sea of Reeds.
  • It is an expanse of water that has reeds.
  • Yam Suph is mentioned in the Book of Kings, where
  • Solomon built his ships at Ezion Geber on the shores of "the Reed Sea," right at the northernmost tip of the Gulf of Aqaba.
  • This puts the parting of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba.
  • Aqaba is opposite Eilat, an Israeli resort.
  • At Eilat, Humphreys finds vegetation, 6 feet tall, in the water. Reeds!
  • Reeds growing at the head of the salty Gulf of Aqaba is unusual, but
  • Freshwater there comes down from the mountains to mix in the salt water.
  • The "Sea of Reeds" is the headwaters of the Gulf of Aqaba [???].

(29:15) So the parting of the Sea of Reeds was a wind event.

  • A storm surge can raise and lower the sea.
  • A wind setdown forces water back from the shore.
  • Then it comes back as a ball wave.
  • This ball wave destroy the army of the Pharaoh.


The Israelis trekked through the Arabian Desert, not the Sinai.

  • After crossing the Reed Sea, the Israelites walked for 3 days
  • They found water at a spring called Marah (="bitter"). Undrinkable.

Alois Musil has already explored the Arabian Desert.

  • The Hejaz is the region of Saudi Arabia closest to the Red Sea.
  • Musil trekked south from the head of the Gulf Aqaba
  • After 3 days, he was out of water,
  • He came to a spring, "the well of Al Mallah"-- another word for bitter.
  • We are now at Marah, one of the hottest places on earth.

(39:45) So where is "Mt. Sinai" in the Arabian Desert?

  • First, Humphreys takes a trip to Sicily.
  • Mt. Etna, on the coast of Sicily, is Europe's most active volcano.
  • "Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity."
  • There are vents of hot gases, which make the air shimmer.
  • Put a piece of paper over a vent and it catches fire.
  • Gases at hundreds of degrees cause vegetation to combust spontaneously.

This suggests a Scientific explanation of the burning bush

  • An acacia turns to charcoal in fire and it's all over Saudi.
  • So the burning bush was on the slopes of a volcano.
  • Humphreys says the pillars of smoke and fire refer to a volcano.
  • But no volcanos in the Sinai Peninsula erupted in the last 10,000 years.

Dozens and dozens of active volcanos in the Arabian desert.

  • The Israelis could have seen the plume from the Gulf of Aqaba, 300 miles away.
  • An eruption in Medina, 1256 AD, sending up a 500 mile high pillar of fire, was reported from Syria, five hundred miles away.
  • So the Israelis could have seen an Arabian Desert volcano.
  • What volcano did they go to?
  • Israelites journeyed 11 days from Kadesh-Barnea to Sinai (Deuteronomy).
  • Ain-Qudeis, a site in the desert, is the usual location for Kadesh-Barnea.
  • It is on today's Egypt and Israeli border, not far from the Mediterranean.
  • So they could have traveled 400 miles in the 11 days from A-Q to get to "Mount Sinai" in the Arabian Desert.

(51:45) Mount Sinai was the Arabian volcano, Mount Beder.

There are 3 active volcanos within 400 miles of Kadesh-Barnea.

V.E.I. - volcanic explosivity index was introduced in the late 1970s.

  • Mt. Rahah - V.E.I. = 0.
  • Mt. Ishqua - V.E.I. = 0
  • Mt. Beder - V.E.I. = 2 and it's 500 feet above a plateau 5000 feet above sea level. It could have produced a column 3 miles high, just like Mt. St.. Helens, which erupted in 1980, "the deadliest eruption in American history."

Mt. Beder sits on sandstone rock, porous with aquifers storing water .

Good for Moses's miracle of striking a rock and generating water.

Is there be a natural explanation for this identifying miracle?

During World War I, an officer keeps a diary of combat with the Ottomans in the Arabian desert.

A soldier in the Imperial Camel Corps smashes a rock with a pickaxe and out comes an explosion of pure water.

"What ho!", his friends say, "The prophet Moses."

The rocks have a hard crust, resulting from wind abrasion of sand over the years. When the soldier cracked the crust, the water flowed out.

"The miracle has a really good scientific explanation." - Humphreys

Mt Beder is in such a remote part of Arabia that the Israelis got lost for 40 years.

(58:30) But now comes Francesca to poop the party.

"This pseudo-scientific approach to try and to identify Mt. Sinai as a volcano is completely irrelevant when it comes to Biblical scholarship. The idea of a deity whose presence is announced with smoke and fire and quaking is a very common way to describe lots of other deities in the ancient near east. So, Sinai doesn't have to be a mountain that's volcanic."

So can Colin can prove that Beder erupted at the time of the Exodus?

But Saudi Arabia does not allow Bible scholars to explore the land.

"The description of Mt. Sinai in the Bible as a volcano is the earliest description of a volcano in any ancient literature." -- Humphreys.


Secrets of the Bible: The Great Flood
  • Prof William Ryan, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Prof Walter Pitman, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Dr. Casey Strine, University of Sheffield - [ page at Sheffield ]
  • Rabbi Raphael Zarum, London School of Jewish Studies - [at LSJS ]
  • Prof Eric Cline, George Washington University
  • Dr. Dwight Coleman, University of Rhode Island

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is at The Earth Institute at Columbia University,
along with CIESIN and IRI

40 Year quest of Bill Ryan and Walter Pittman

Glomar Explorer -

Core samples from the Mediterranean - down there is a thick layer of salt - meaning that at one time, millions of years ago, the Mediterranean Sea lost all its water.

5 MYA - the Mediterranean Sea was a dry desert basin, separated from the world's oceans by a land barrier at Gibraltar.

When the water returned, it happened fast. The barrier between the Mediterranean and the open oceans burst. In a geological instant.

The Bible gives no indication of where Noah was living during the flood,

Mt. Ararat is in Turkey.

Cline: the first thing Noah would do is dismantle the ark to build houses and barns out of it. We shouldn't be looking for Noah's Ark. We should be looking for Noah's house.

The Black Sea has only one connection to the world ocean through the Bosporus.

Ryan and Pittman want to prove that the Black Sea has been suddenly flooded from dry.

But in 1971, the Cold War makes the Back Sea off-limits

1993 - 20 year later, they get an invitation from an oceanographer in Bulgaria, coming in an envelope with colorful stamps. Then another letter! A team of Russian oceanographers invite them to come over for a little investigation.


If the flooding had happened slowly, the waves would have eroded any coastal features. If there was a sudden flood, traces of a submerged ancient coastline would still be detectable.

See remains of an ancient shore submerged under 100 meters of water. The water level was once much lower. When the Black Sea re-flooded, it was another geological instant.

A freshwater lake turned into a saltwater sea.

But when? In recent enough time to create a legend?

How get the samples back to the US? The KGB is interested. They leave the sample for Russian colleagues to send later. On getting home, they turn on their GPS, which recalls the coordinates of the place it was last tuned on, now KGB HQ in Moscow.

Then the samples come, safe and sound.

Shells from the layer when the fresh water lake became the Black Sea. From carbon dating of sea shells. They all have the same age -

7,200 years ago - so, 5,200 BC

The New Stone Age. The Neolithic Period

When Agriculture began, and pottery and metal use

So modern humans could have witnessed the flood and preserved it in their legends.

So now we go to the Bosporus. Did water ever flow through there fast enough to create the flood? It's 800 meters wide and 30 meters deep

  • Sea levels were 400 feet lower than today in the Ice Age.
  • The Black Sea is cut off from the shrunken Mediterranean Sea.
  • Then the ice melts.
  • Sea levels rise.
  • The Bosporus fills up with water from the world's ocean.
  • The weight of the water breaks through the Bosporus and fills up the Back Sea
  • Rate of water flow - 2,000 to 5,000 cubic miles a year
  • The Black Sea expands by 10,000 square miles from this flooding.
  • Its smaller, pre-flood circumference, its shore line, remains intact.

How did the people react?

So I see the Black Sea having hundreds of mini-Arks, all going in different directions as people flee this deluge.

Now-- were there people living on the shores of the Black Sea lake when it flooded? Bob Ballard joins the hunt. Find blocks of wood at Site 82. But RC dating of the sample of two hundred years, old fishing gear.

So now we go to the shore. Look for people who appeared out of the blue about 5,000 BC.

Bulgaria is on the shore of the Black Sea. Varna is a coastal region in Bulgaria.

The Varna Necropolis
- 4,500 BC - shortly after Black Sea flood. 6 kg of the oldest processed gold on earth, Rings with an inside to outside ratio of 7:22, which is pi.

This is "the world's oldest gold in gorgeous designs."

These people came out of nowhere. No history. So maybe displaced by rise of Black Sea.

Now - is this flood same as described in Bible?

Ryan: The Black Sea could be an oasis in Eden.

One of the rivers was Pishon, which came from the land of gold

Ryan: "They'll even put gold into the story." Like the land of Varnese?

5,000 BC - when farming began in Europe, by peoples from the east, and their seeds came from the Black Sea region. Their genes place them in Turkey and Syria, Their cereals have DNA to Anatolia.

Everything coming into Europe was coming from the circum-Black Sea area.

The animals and grains on the ark are priceless. They have been developed over millennia for our use. The ark story is a manual for displacement.

Secrets of the Bible - The Stone of Jacob
  • Adrian Gilbert, Author & Historian
  • Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, University of Exeter
  • Peter Yeoman, Historic Scotland
  • Peter Hill, professional stonemason
  • Emrys Phillips, British Geological Survey
  • Garth Gilmore, University of Oxford
Elsewhere: Wikipedia, Wikipedia, BibleMysteries.

A pierce of sandstone imbued with historic significance - the pillow on which Jacob laid his head when he had his vision/dream of a stairway to heaven - making that point on earth a sacred spot where the two worlds meet.

And it made its way to Britain.

The Biblical story of Jacob's stone:

  • When Jacob was fleeing from his brother, Esau,
  • he slept upon a stone, which he used as a pillow
  • and had a dream of a stairway to heaven with angels going up and down it
  • showing that spot to be a holy place on earth - the gateway to heaven
  • so Jacob names the place, Bethel, "Gods's house,"
  • and he sets up the stone as a standing stone,
  • and declares the stone to be the dwelling place of God.

"The stone of Jacob is one of the great stories of the Old Testament." This is "a seminal moment in Israelite history."

(14:30) The Bible needs a Shaggy Dog Story

In 586 BC, Babylon conquers Jerusalem (Book of Lamentations)

Jeremiah flees to Egypt, taking the Royal Princess and the Stone

Then about 500 a new Pharaoh boots out the Mercenaries, one of whom,

Miletus, carried " the Pharaoh's Stone" to Spain. (28:15) Then, under

attack, heirs of Miletus takes it to Ireland to a monastery in

Clonmacnoise in County Offaly where The Annals of Clonmacnoise

was written. Ollam Fodhla and Eastern Princess arrive with a stone

Could Ollam Fodhla be Jeremiah?

At any rate, the stone spends 1000 years at Tara, an ancient Irish capital

then is brought to Scotland by King Fergus in 500 AD.

This is "the Pharaoh's stone," The Stone of Scone, the Stone of Destiny,

used for coronations in Scotland, such as Alexander III in 1249

Story told in John of Fordun's Chronicle of the Scottish Nation (1360)

Then in 1296 - Edward I takes the Stone to England

where it become the seat of the throne in Westminster Abbey.

"The Stone of Scone was last used in 1953 for the coronation of

 Elizabeth II of the UK, Great Britain, and Northern Island."

Or vice-versa.

Secrets of the Bible - The Temple of Solomon Mystery
You are here: BBC > Science & Nature > TV & Radio Follow-up > Programmes > Horizon > King Solomon's Tablet of Stone.

King Solomon's Tablet of Stone - Read the programme transcript.

Programme summary
Questions and answers

  • Matthew Kalman, Journalist
  • Nina Burleigh, Author,
    • Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery In The Holy Land. (2009)
  • Dr Leen Ritmeyer, Archaeologist
  • Dr Casey Strine, University Sheffield - [ page at Sheffield ]
  • Ronnie Reich, Archaeologist
  • Oded Golan, Antiquities Collector (left-handed)
  • Shimon Ilani, Geological Survey of Israel
  • Chaim Cohen, Ancient Hebrew Expert (wears a kippa)
  • Prof. Victor Hurowitz
  • Israel Finkelstein, Archaeologist
"There is no proof that Solomon's Temple ever existed. Not a single archaeological ruin has ever been found .... until now." The Jehoash Tablet "could be the only surviving evidence of the Temple of Solomon." Unless it's a forgery.
Jehoash Inscription.


957 - Solomon dedicates the Temple. Super-fabulous. Houses the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.

587 - Babylonia destroys the Temple. [They don't strip the gold sheets for reuse; they just burn the temple to the ground?]

2001 - Itzhak Zuriel meets the director of the Israel Museum to sell him the Tablet, a record of repairs made to the Temple, written in fifteen lines of ancient Hebrew and carved in sandstone, supposedly during the reign of Jehoash (c. 836 – 797 BC).

"The description matches exactly the Bible's account of repairs carried out on the temple."

For the Israelis, "this is possibly the most important archaeological artifact yet found."

No one knows where the Tablet was found. Contradictory rumors.

2003-01 - news of the Tablet becomes public. It has been authenticated by the Geological Survey of Israel, and the starting price is $4 million.


The news comes to the IAA - the Israel Antiquities Authority, which has a Robbery Prevention Unit run by "scholar cops."

Amir Ganor [ page at the IAA ] is the chief detective. Find the stone. Major police job. They find the scientist at the GSI who tested the tablet. The patina can be faked.

  • They find an even coating of patina everywhere, and no modern detritus lodged in tiny cracks.
  • Particles of charcoal dated between 390 and 200 BC.
  • Because the patina takes centuries to form, the lab placed the tablet's creation prior to 500 BC.
  • The charcoal could be from any fire.
  • The geologists find traces of another particle -- gold.

So the tablet is not a modern forgery. Zuriel disappears.


Amir Ganor hears that Zuriel is a former spy for Shin Bet. They find Zuriel, who says he takes instructions from Oded Golan.

[Shin Bet, Shabak, Israeli Security Agency (ISA), equivalent to the FBI ]
Golan, an antiquities dealer, was the owner of the James Ossuary.

"So two important but suspicious items were in the hands of one man."

Professor Yuval Goren denounces the tablet as fake from the GSI report.

"There is no doubt that there are forgery workshops here in Israel in Palestine."

"Forgeries are a contamination of science, of archaeology as a science. Science is being biased, history is being biased, archaeology is being biased, and [the more sources forged], science is more distorted."

Steps for a forgery (Goren)

  • The black stone is not native to Israel.
  • Just up the coast from Tel Aviv is an old crusader fortress.
  • The stones in its walls have been cut to shape. Some are black.
  • The forgers used one of those stones, originally used for ballast in ancient ships
  • A scholar of ancient Hebrew wrote the elegant inscription.
  • A master stone carver inscribed it.
  • They had to get the patina just right.
  • BUT - Doctor Ayalon found that the patina on both the inscription and the ossuary had formed at temperatures far too hot for them to have occurred naturally.

Ramat Gan - where a new warehouse of Golan is found. Find tools and half-finished items, photographs of letters, casts, computer programs, sketches, diamond cutters, industrial design tools, bags of soil labelled from different digs - a forgery workshop.


Golan says that all the tools were simply for restoration.

[A perfect excuse - you can't make the tablet with these tools, he says. This should be empirically verifiable. ]

"Golan is a formidable adversary" to Ganor. So Ganor raids the home of his elderly parents, and then Golan breaks. He delivers the tablet.

So Ganor wants to show the tablet to the press. But someone picked it up, dropped it, and the tablet cracked in half along a pre-existing hairline crack. So they hold the press conference with the broken stone.

Now more tests conclude it is a forgery.


2004-12 - IAA charges against Golan and four dealers for fraud. Tip of the iceberg. Countless forgeries already in museums around the world.

Cohen says the forgery is brilliant. Scholars at the trial are split. Shapes of letters not conclusive. One line has three different versions of the same letter.

Goren has to change his testimony in mid-trial. He said there was no patina in the letters. The defense points out a place on the projection-photo where there is, and Goren had to admit it.

[Can't we know if patina can be scraped off, collected, and blown back onto a stone as if there originally?]

Judge Aaron Farkash is perplexed.

2012-03 - after 8 years and 12,000 pages of trial transcript, Farkash acquits Golan.

The IAA refuses to return the tablet to Golan -- on the grounds that table could be real -- until 2014.

The IAA used a private lawyer to send a letter to Golan's lawyer, saying that they would not refuse if Golan comes to collect the tablet.

He lost millions of dollars.


Secrets of the Bible - The Tower of Babel
  • David Rohl, Author, Legend: The Genesis of Civilization (1998).
  • Rev Lionel Fanthorpe, Biblical Expert
  • Dr Aaron Rosen, King's College London
  • Prof Katherine Southwood, University of Oxford (an aetiological tale)
  • Dr Jonathan Stökl, King's College London [ page at King's College ]
  • Dr Martin Worthington, University of Cambridge [ page at Cambridge ]
  • Dr Mark Altaweel, University College London [ page at UCL ]

Can David Rohl prove that the Tower is more than just a myth?

[Wikipedia] David Michael Rohl (1950) is an English Egyptologist and former director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences (ISIS) who from the 1980s has put forth several unconventional theories revising the chronology of Ancient Egypt and Israel to form an alternative new chronology.

It contradicts mainstream Egyptology by proposing a major revision of the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt, in particular by re dating Egyptian kings of the 19th through 25th Dynasties, lowering conventional dates up to 350 years. Rohl asserts that the New Chronology allows him to identify some of the characters in the Old Testament with people whose names appear in archaeological finds.


Rohl "revises the chronologies of ancient Egyptian dynasties by hundreds of years."

(15:33) Most chronologies put the early Bible events at 4,000 - 2,000 BC.

In the Table of Nations, there is a king, Nimrod, the son of Cush and " a mighty hunter before the Lord."

He was the founder of Babylon, and the first great king. Not connected with the Tower.

Josephus (94 AD) said that Nimrod built the Tower of Babel as a refuge in case there was another flood.

(27:22) The Sumerian King List is a clay prism of cuneiform kept at the Ashmolean Museum. It is dated to 1800 BC, There is a king Enmerkar, who comes "one generation after the flood in the Sumerian tradition." He "founded Uruk."

In Dave's chronology, he ruled 2700 BC, just after the 1st Dynasty of Egypt.

The suffix "kar" means "hunter."

N M R - Enmer, king and hunter
N M R D - Nimrod, king and mighty hunter

Was there an ancient mix-up?

The Bible is full of puns.

In Hebrew, the D turns the word into a verb, "to rebel." Nimrod as a verbal form means "we shall rebel." We should expect rebellion in the story of Nimrod

So, accepting that Nimrod built the Tower from Josephus, we have NMR, the king who rebelled against God. Now, the same as Sumerian NMR. "I think they are the same people."

Now where is the Tower?

(39:00) Babylon first appears 2,000 BC and peaks 1,500 to 500 BC. At Babylon, there are remains of a ziggurat. Maybe the Jews of the 500s made it into the Tower?

But Rohl says Babylon is too late to have the Tower.

Babilu - Akkadian
Nun.ki- Sumerian

Nun-ki means "mighty place" or "mighty city."

There were two Nun-kis in Mesopotamia, one in the north, traditionally called Babylon, and one to the south, also known as Eridu,

  • the oldest city on earth, according to Sumerian texts, and
  • the place where the kingship descended from Heaven, and
  • thousands of years older than Babylon.

Why not the"Tower of Eridu"? The Biblical scholars had another mix-up. The Hebrews only knew the northern Nun-ki.

Archaeologists have found that Eridu had a "ziggurat or tower temple" during the reign of Enmerkar. But it was not abandoned.

Rohl looked at the excavation reports. Behind Temple 1 is a large platform. It looks like the base of a much larger temple, a platform temple. This is a ziggurat that was never finished. Could that be the Tower of Babel?

But what of the confusion of languages and the scattering of people?

(52:15) Thee had to be a lot of languages spoken in Eridu because of the mass immigration. What if the confusion of languages was caused by immigration?

If the people were more primitive, they might fight.

A thousand miles to the west, in the eastern desert of Egypt are thousands of drawings, "rock art." They show hundreds and hundreds of high-prowed ships, miles from the water.

Could this be immigration to Egypt? The land was so fertile that the Sumerians wanted to own the place. The uniqueness of Egypt depends upon a meeting of two cultures, African and Sumeria. There were no Egyptians in Mesopotamia.

This migration was at the time of the First Dynasty in Egypt -- by Rohl's chronology.

Brick architecture first shows up in Egypt and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

Other scholars lament the "vast jumps in logic" here. What could those be? I wonder::

  • Enmerkar founded Uruk, not Eridu?
  • These tribes immigrated for opportunities and they could not figure out the idea of translation?
  • Why did these people suddenly stop building the temple and move to the desert,
    where they would paint pictures of their beloved ships out of nostalgia? Was there a disaster that stopped them?

Saying that "migration is what people do" is not quite sufficient here.

Rohl: "The best way to deal with criticism is to simply walk away."

Secrets of the Bible - The Holy Grail
Personae Experts:
  • Tim Wallace-Murphy, Author,
    • The Knights of the Holy Grail: The Secret History of the
    • Knights Templar (1999)
  • Rev Lionel Fanthorpe, Biblical Expert
  • Dr Dominic Selwood, Author, Knights of the Cloister (1999)
  • Father Nicholas Schofield, Priest and Historian
  • Graham Phillips, Author, The Search for the Grail (1995)
    • "Proposes that the medieval Grail romances where based on the legend of a jar that was said to have belonged to Jesus' follower Mary Magdalene."
  • Dr Juliette Wood, Cardiff University
  • Ean Begg, Author, The Cult of the Black Virgin (2006)

When you begin the search for the Grail, things start happening.

Jesus founds the mass with a cup. Joseph of Arimathea takes the cup from the supper and collects the blood of Christ. Thereafter, it became a source of healing and blessing. It can give you "almost eternal life."

Valencia, Spain: A chalice, cup studded with jewels, used by Popes. One of hundreds In the Middle Ages, your church having the Grail was good for business.

The real one probably did not have jewels. Probably a simple wooden cup. Would anyone have thought is special at the time.

Worse: The story of the Last Supper never once mentions the Holy Grail, and never says the cup of the mass was special. That story of Joseph of Arimathea collecting the blood never mentions the Grail. The Legend of the Grail is not in the Bible.

(17:10). So where did this story come from?

1190 - Perceval, the Story of the Grail by Chretien de Troyes, first to write about the Grail. Perceval meets the Fisher King at a castle and witness a procession, with a woman holding "un graal," a large dish with powers.

1210 - Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a knight. It has no cup, no Arimathea. The object is a stone falling from heaven, and it gets more powerful with each year that a dove comes down and lays a wafer on it.

Five stories in the Vulgate Cycle (written in French, the vulgar tongue, not Latin) about knighthood.

Joseph Campbell - why would a knight have a search high and low for a grail, when, if wanted a miracle, he just had to cross the road, go to a church, and take communion, and then he partakes directly of the blood of Christ.

So the Grail stories are not about a relic. Wolfram was a member of the Templars, who fight for good, not power. The Grail Knights are based on the Templars.


1099 - Christians in Jerusalem. Knights Templar protect Christians in the Holy Land. Their HQ is the Temple Mount. They start digging. Never say if they found anything. When they get back to Europe, they are rich. They become powerful. Get blessed by the Pope. Made the priests angry.

14th century, France, Philip IV. Templars get abusive, and people come to hate them. Philip is bankrupt, so he wants to steal the fortune of the Templars, and he accuses them of blasphemy, etc. He wipes out the Templars all over France on Friday morning, the 13th of October, 1307.

No Grail was found. So it must intangible, maybe an idea.

Could the heresy for which the Templars were tried be the Grail?

(42:00) Massive documentation of the trial of the Templars. No clues as to the Grail.


The Templars revered the Virgin Mary. That's not a heresy.

If Templars influenced Chartres, are the 3 black madonnas there a clue? There are hundreds across Europe. They are a symbol of the 12th c. Was the Grail the Feminine Principle? Why would that upset the Church?

(53:45) Black had positive connotations back then. In Egyptian tradition, black is the color of wisdom. The Black Virgin is alternative Christianity.

The Templars thought there was more wisdom in the Virgin Mary than in Jesus Christ. That was heresy. They hid their wisdom in poems.

"The invention of the Grail saga was the masterstroke which helped preserve Templar teaching."

So what was this wisdom?

Simple things, compassion and love. That's the Grail.


Secrets of the Bible - The Ten Plagues of Egypt
  • Dr John S. Marr, epidemiologist, New York Department of Health
  • Rabbi Raphael Zarum, London School of Jewish Studies - [at LSJS ]
  • Prof Eric Cline, George Washington University
  • Dr Aidan Dodson, University of Bristol
  • Dr Casey Strine, University Sheffield - [ page at Sheffield ]
  • Dr Siro Trevisanato, Molecular Biologist
  • Prof David Pyle, University of Oxford

Like Biblical Mysteries Explained,
which was John Marr's first show on the plagues,
this is a his naturalistic version of the plagues.

"If Egyptology can't find the evidence, maybe Epidemiology can."

The story of the plagues is too accurate to be a myth.

"The exodus in Egypt, according to Jewish tradition, takes place in the 14th century BC." - Zaurm

"There is no proof. There is no archaeological evidence for the Israelites at any stage in their journey. They have not been detected." - Cline

"The Egyptian evidence for the presence of the Israelites in Egypt is precisely zero." -- Dodson

[ see note on the plagues ]

1 blood Red algae blooms, with their phytoplankton explosion, normally occur in salt water. But in the '90, the River Neuse ran red from an algae bloom in fresh water.
2 frogs (16:30) flee the poisoned Nile, but they must keep their skin moist to survive, Out of the river, they die.
3 kinim since there is a specific louse that attacks humans, these creature must be midges or gnats, which both bite.
4 swarms attack especially the livestock, the stable fly which both bites and swarms, and loves the millions of rotting frogs.
5 plague a disease that falls on animals, cattle and horses, not humans - ruminant bluetongue or African horse sickness - both caused by the bite of a midge.
6 boils on man and beast. Stable fly can open the skin to infection by Glanders, a bacterial disease causing cutaneous eruptions.
7 storm (29:00) hail, lightning, fire. This plague stopped John Marr in his tracks. The he realizes, it can hail in Egypt. No big deal.
8 locusts HUH? They just come in and devour the fields.
9 dark Sandstorms, a khamsin in the spring of the year, sand like powdered sugar, that can go through closed doors or windows. Check.
10 death All these plagues compromised the food supply. First born got the poisoned food.

Of number 4 we hear, "For Marr, this is a milestone in his investigation of the ten plagues of Egypt."

But Marr is stuck on number 7.

In Canada, at the same time, Siro Trevisanato, learns of a an eruption of the volcano, Cerro Hudson, which sent a plume over the Andes, landing in Patagonia red and acidic. So could a volcano have caused the first plague?

There are no volcanos in Egypt.

But Mount Thera, now in the island of Santorini, was a large volcano in the Mediterranean and very active in the Bronze Age. This toxic plume could affect pastures.

1 blood This is the red acidic fallout of the volcanic plume from the eruption of Mt. Thera
2 frogs as above
3 kinim as above
4 swarms as above
5 plague toxic plume from volcano, red and acidic, landed on the pastures of Egypt, carrying toxins which are fatal to herbivores (cattle and horses) which must eat grass.
6 boils the plume contained sulfuric dioxide, which, as it falls through rain, turns into mild sulfuric acid, causing boils, blisters, and pustules. So the boils are not a disease.
7 storm Another precipitation from the plume.
8 locusts the volcanic plume affected weather patterns, bringing an unusual humidity and creating idea conditions for a swarm of locusts.
9 dark a darkness so complete that the Egyptians could not move.
A plume from a second eruption which blocked out the sun.
10 death Traumatized Egyptians try to appease their gods by sacrificing their own firstborn. The is the psychological effect if the stress. Egyptians caused their own tenth plague.

(41:00) " Siro Trevisanato has successfully proved that the first seven plagues could be cause by a volcanic eruption."

But the darkness is a problem. It should have been plague number one. But in a biphasic eruption, the eruption can start again after an initial blast.

Meanwhile, John Marr is not convinced of the volcano. Mt. Thera is dated to 1600 BC, while the Exodus is in the 14th century.

It can hail in Egypt even without a plume.

(54:15) Marr works on number ten. Poisoned food. Grain can't dry in the sun during the darkness. It is stored in underground granaries while still damp. Perfect for the incubation of fungi and mycotoxin -- mycotoxin stachybotrys atra, which can cause internal bleeding with no demonstrable external cause.

It forms on the surface of the grain, that given to the eldest son or daughter.

Secrets of the Bible - The Search for Sodom
  • Dr. Steven Collins, Archaeologist
    • Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project.
    • page at Trinity Southwest University
    • believes "science and the Bible can coexist."
    • "...the money comes out of your own pocket. You chew through your entire retirement."
  • Jonathan Tubb, British Museum [ page at British Museum ]
  • Dr Leen Ritmeyer, Archaeological Architect
  • Craig Olson, Archaeologist
  • Dr Casey Strine, University Sheffield - [ page at Sheffield ]
  • Dr Gareth Collins, Imperial College London

(1) Sodom is one of the five cities of the plain:

"They were situated in the Vale of Siddim which the Biblical account states became the Dead Sea." [ internet ]

(2) Five sites south of the Dead Sea are candidates:

  • Bab edh-dhra - near the Dead Sea - maybe Sodom?
  • Numeira - maybe Gomorrah?
  • Safi - identified on the Madaba Mosaic as Zoar.
  • Feifa
  • Khirbet Khanazir

In 1973, remains of the five cities were found which had been destroyed in the Bronze Age, about 2300 BC, the time of Abraham. All were destroyed by a cataclysmic fire.

(3) Collins thinks it must be in the north, where Abraham could see it:

  • Tall of Nimrin
  • Tall el-Hammam (Tall el-Hammeh) - quite large - is this Sodom?

(28:30) Lots of detail about the digs, looking for the monumental gateway to the city, where Lot sat. They found it at Tall el-Hammam. Now show that it was destroyed in a catastrophe. Found evidence of fire. Mud bricks fired hard like pottery. Skeletons showing signs of sudden trauma. Not buried. Limbs radically twisted.

(4) Wherever it was, what was the natural catastrophe that destroyed it?

  • Collins rules out an earthquake. Bible doesn't mention it.
  • Fire came from the heavens.
  • No impact crater, no asteroid.
  • A 4,000 year old pot shard of the Middle Bronze Age has greenish glass on one side.
  • Glazed pottery wasn't invented until the 1st century BC --- 1,000 years after Tall el-Hamman's destruction..
  • The glass in the mineral, Trinitite.
  • Trinitite was first discovered in 1945 after the first nuclear bomb test - it is the melted surface of the sandy ground.
  • The place is full of this desert glass in the kikkar around Tall el-Hammam.

Tunguska in 1908 (53:30)

An air burst: a comet disintegrates before impact, leaving no crater.

This happened at Tunguska in Siberia in 1908.

"It is the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history."

2,000 sq. km of forest incinerated in an instant.

What strikes the earth is a blast wave and the flash of superheated plasma which vaporizes the landscape and creates a distinct plume of smoke, dust, and debris.

Gives a mushroom cloud visible for hundreds of miles.

"That's exactly what Abraham saw."

Sodom was the scene of a perfect crime: total destruction but no evidence of the killer.

The stumbling blocks is the dates.

Collins dates destruction of Sodom to 1650 to 1600 BC.

That's 300 years after Abraham, according to some. But Abraham in 2100 BC is the old Bishop Ussher (1581-1656) chronology. That's not a deal-breaker.

Even if there was no Sodom, there was an air burst in the 2nd millennium.

Inside Baseball needs more innings:

Serials - The Bible's Greatest Secrets.
[ sub-menu ] - page at AHC - [ top-menu ]
Executive in Charge of Production - W. Clark Bunting
# Title Date Subjects
1 The Death of Jesus . 12/08/2013  
2 The Disciples. 12/08/2013  
3 Peter the Rock 12/15/2013  
4 Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors. 12/15/2013  
5 The Battle of Jericho. 12/22/2013  
6 David vs. Goliath. 12/22/2013  
7 Herod and the Bethlehem Massacre. 12/29/2013  
8 Revelation: Visions of Armageddon. 12/29/2013  
9 Who Was Mary Magdalene 01/25/2014  
Season 2
A BBC Manchester/Discovery Co-Production
© MMXIV Discovery Communications, LLC.
# Title Date Subjects
1 The Early Years of Jesus. 12/14/2014  
2 The Mission of Jesus . 12/21/2014  
3 The Final Days of Jesus. 12/28/2014  
4 The Mysteries of Moses. 01/04/2015  
5 Noah's Ark. 01/11/2015  
6 The Apostle Paul. 01/18/2015  

Host/Narrator: Avery Brooks OR Chris Cook.(2.5)

Critique: Unlike most History Channel "Bible" programing, such as

  • "Bible Mysteries Reveals" [Bible Secrets Revealed?],
  • "Secrets of the Bible,"

that is just a cover to attack Bible accounts either by denying the Bible account or attacking the veracity of the Bible, "The Bible's Greatest Secrets" attempts to truly examine scriptural accounts, stories, claims in a relatively fair and balanced way. This is in no way a pro-Christian show, the conclusions reached are often incomplete or just wrong, yet I think the show is making an honest attempt to understand what is in the Bible.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 1.1 - The Death of Jesus

Three suspects for death of Jesus

  • Caiaphas
  • Pontius Pilate and the Romans
  • Jesus Himself.
(1) Caiaphas

Man of Wealth and Authority

  • was high priest for 18 years, when the average tenure was 4 years.
  • He is a wealthy Jewish aristocrat from a good family.
  • He is the top of Judean society.
  • He and his70 associates lived a life of luxury,
  • Their houses excavated recently with their large rooms and mosaic floors.
  • They had high incomes and had something to lose.
  • These houses have lots of ritual baths.

Ritual Purification was a Money-Maker for the Temple

  • To enter the temple, a Jew had to be ritually pure.
  • More and more restrictions were added, making purity more difficult.
  • 150 baths for public use outside the temple, had to be paid for, not cheap, even for the poor.
  • This is lots of income for the priests.

Jesus coming at Passover.

  • Jesus said these rituals were not necessary. He could wipe them out.
  • Passover was the most dangerous week for Jesus to cause trouble.
  • Lots of people coming in for Passover.
  • Josephus:, 255,600 lambs killed and eaten during one Passover. Each lamb will feed 10 people, So the population of Jerusalem that week would be 2 1/2 million.
  • Jesus overturned tables of money changers.
  • An "act of insult" when there were people to see it

Caiaphas holds a Trial

  • If we kill Jesus now, there might be a riot.
  • Temple guards arrest Jesus at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.
  • The charge: he had threatened to destroy the Temple
  • Secret midnight trial leaves the law behind - it was a sham
  • Caiaphas - prosecutor and judge
  • Two male witnesses had to agree - word for word
  • witnesses did not agree and even contradicted themselves.
  • Caiaphas's sham trial failed
  • He had to provoke Jesus into blasphemy.
  • Are you the Messiah?
  • In Mark, Jesus says that he is.
  • Caiaphas has no power to carry out a death sentence.
(2) Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. (30:00)

The Bible judges him innocent in death of Jesus; sources outside the Bible say otherwise.

  • Philo: He was calculating, cruel and brutal.
  • He so hated Jews that he made his capital in Caesarea, 2 1/2 days from Jerusalem.
  • So he had to go to Jerusalem every year for Passover.
  • It was part of his official duties.
  • He took his wife with him to make it bearable

Caiaphas brings Jesus to him.

  • Pilate would never enforce an accusation of blasphemy.
  • Caiaphas replaced blasphemy with sedition, claiming to be King of the Jews.
  • Pilate gives Jesus a hearing and declares himself innocent.
  • BUT unexpectedly - the crowd cries out for his death.
  • This crowd may have been a mob whipped up by the chief priest.

Pilate's masterstroke.

  • A Passover tradition allows a prisoner to go free.
  • When the crowd wants Barabbas, he makes an unusual sentence
  • He declares Jesus innocent and condemns him to death.
  • He washes his hands. [A parody of Jewish ritual bathing?]
(3) Jesus

(1) Jesus entering Jerusalem was "deeply provocative" (42:00)

  • From the time of Moses, Jews had been waiting for the Messiah
  • which had been prophesied. to ride on a donkey
  • Jesus entered at the east gate, riding on a donkey.

(2) He raised the stakes with the money changers in the temple,

  • when Passover was their most lucrative time of the year, and
  • the time when Jews paid an annual temple tax.

(3) He could have left Jerusalem, but he stayed with his disciples.

  • Clear at the Last Supper - body and blood - that he knew he would die.
  • He identifies the person who would betray him - Judas. "Do what you have to do but do it quickly."
  • In Gethsemane, Jesus sweats blood and the drops of his blood fall upon the path before him (Luke). (53:45)
  • Forensic pathology says that could happen. Sweat glands are supplied by capillaries. Under stress, the capillaries break, sending blood into the sweat.
  • Hematidrosis - Hematohidrosis - hemidrosis - blood sweat.

(4) He never defended himself at his various trials.

At his death, his disciples had scattered. His mother was there.

So who is responsible? Each and All in various ways.

E P Sanders: Caiaphas is the guilty party.

Caiaphas was removed as high priest and lived quietly on his farm in Galilee. He is buried at Talpiot in Jerusalem.

Richard Horsley: Pilate is the guilty party.

Pilate was called to Rome to answer for his brutal treatment of the Jews, but Tiberias died and he was never brought to trial. Said to have killed himself in 37 AD

Helen Bond: Jesus was responsible for his own crucifixion.

Tom Wright: Jesus is not so much guilty, as faithful to his vocation

Mary was at the execution site. All the disciples had fled for their lives.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 1.2 - The Disciples
  • Bruce Moseley, Orthopedic Surgeon,
    • who found that (1) a "pretend-surgery group" got the same pain relief as (2) those who got knee surgery and (3) those who got only an incision.
    • NOTE that Moseley is a believer.
    • Did the placebo effect work on his experiment on the placebo effect?
    • "A Controlled Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Knee" at New England Journal of Medicine.
    • [ page at Houston Methodist ]
  • Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist
  • Sister Celeste
  • Gary Cooper, psychologist - group dynamics
  • James Strange, archaeologist with a white beard
  • James H. Charlesworth, Biblical scholar based in Jerusalem
  • Helen Bond, Biblical historian
  • Stevan Davies, Biblical historian
  • James D. Tabor, Biblical historian
  • Doug E. Oakman, Biblical Historian
  • Tal Ilan, Jewish Historian
How did these twelve bitchy men found a major world religion?

New century dawns with Palestine torn apart.

  • 4 BC: Uprising in Sepphoris in Galilee, put down brutally by Romans.
  • All inhabitants killed or sold as slaves.
  • Galilee, a hotbed of rebellion.
The disciples - motivations - personal, political, or theological?

They had "very different reasons and very different hopes."

James, John, Peter, Andrew - fisherman

In Palestine then, fishermen had to bring their fresh catch, carp and sardines, to the tax collector to be replaced by inferior salted fish. WTF - never heard of this.

They came to Jesus at first for practical, not religious reasons, feeling oppressed by the state?

Matthew - rich tax collector, probably with bodyguards, probably welcomed in a community for the first time after his conversion.

Judas - bursar, manager, treasurer

Thomas, Philip, Bartholomew, Simon Jewish law zealot, James, Jude.

Leave your possessions behind

[15:40] They were told to leave all possession behind. Some experts believed that nevertheless, they had to have some things.

Galilee, 35 miles across, could be traversed in one day.

Wandering the region was dangerous, there were people who felt territorial, there were bears and lions. Travelers had to have

  • iron and flint and a "scorched piece of linen" to make a fire, "so you can knap hour own fire."
  • a wool mantle to wrap tightly around yourself in cold weather like a tent, also used as a rain coat
  • sword for protection. Two of the disciples had swords when Jesus was arrested.
  • There must have been fine print on what is a "possession" and what is "caring for the morrow."

How get food? Farmers harvesting a field left the corners untouched for the poor, a provision in Jewish law to care for the poor.

Most disciples were married. Did they provide for their families?

Disciples became faith healers to survive.

Many people died of infections in those days.

Jesus had a reputation as a healer, and so did his disciples. They entered a village, announced the kingdom, and healed the sick.

It's the placebo effect.

Jesus cures an epileptic son, then tells the disciples, who could not, it was because of their lack of faith.

Moseley says the patient can sense the confidence of the surgeon, and that increases the patients' ability to heal.

Competitiveness and rivalry amongst the disciples.

[29:45] Take message to the Samaritans, but, to the Jews of the time, they had been enemies for 500 years.

They disagreed on where the Temple should be - [obviously, the most important question for all humanity].

The furious disciples violated love your enemy.

James & John wanted to send down fire on the village and obliterate it.

Disciples argued over who among them was the greatest. Who will have thrones next to Jesus in Heaven?

Annoyed with the woman who anointed Jesus, especially Judas, the treasurer.

The disciples did not fit the typical image of the holy man. They were jealous, frightened, rough and flawed, bitter, selfish, violent - just like all of us.

Entry into Jerusalem

[40:00] To Jerusalem. Palm Sunday, packed with pilgrims thirsting for freedom from the Romans, as their ancestors got freedom from the Egyptians.

Disciples surprised that Jesus suddenly turns the shared meal into a premonition of his death.

Judas 30 pieces of silver. If that was the denarius, he got 30 days wages, which was the price, in some slave markets, of a slave.

The word betray means simply hand over. [ALSO IN "THE FINAL DAYS OF JESUS" - paradidomi. ]

WHY NEED A BETRAYAL TO BEGIN WITH? They all knew who Jesus was and where he could be find. Jesus was in his customary place.

Judas was beset when he learned of the execution, He did not want that? Throws the money back and hangs himself. So why his deal with the authorities. That he thought it would be good to meet the high priests. Make himself more understandable.

Disciples vanish at the crucifixion.

[52:40] The movement should have ended there, with the disciples scattered.

But then the stories of the resurrection.

The appearance of Jesus to the disciples in the upper room.

The Pentecost, several weeks later. Mighty wind rushing, holy spirit, flames of fire, all languages understood. This event transformed the group.

(Newberg) Extreme spiritual events causes brain changes. Newberg has brain scans to prove it. Changes after prayer in the part of the brain that helps us sense what is around us. Less activity during prayer. Mind feeling at one with universe.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 1.3 - Peter the Rock

Archaeology has evidence of Peter in Rome.

  • Constantine defeats Maxentius at the Milvian (Mulvian) Bridge in 312 AD..
  • Builds church to St. Peter over his grave on the Vatican Hill.
  • Slices top off the hill, moves a million square feet of earth
  • Catacombs of tombs are underneath it.
  • Underground street with magnificent first-century tombs found in 1939.
  • "Hundreds of years before, Constantine packed the streets with soil to make a level foundation for his basilica."
  • Christian graffiti above graves suggests tomb of Peter.
  • Bones found of 1st century man, died in his 60s, buried in a tomb.
  • Wrapped in a cloth of purple and gold, placed in a marble niche,
  • above it, the words : " Petros Ini."
  • The bones are now in the crypt in St. Peter's Basilica.
And of Peter's comfortable life in Galilee.
  • Galilee may have been a commercial center, not just a backwater.
  • Historians have found Peter's house in Capernaum
  • Peter was married and had children, successful businessman.
  • In 1985, a drought lowers the level of Galilee Sea, revealing artifacts.
  • with a first century boat, dimensions same as in Peter's in the Bible.
What led Peter to abandon his comfortable life? The Roman State!
  • (18:25) The Romans changed the economics of Galilee.
  • New Heavy taxes, new credit system instead of bartering, and
  • if crops failed, debt and taxes had to be settled first.
  • So he was ready for a new life?
  • Peter's leadership shown when he copied Jesus in walking on water.
  • He failed, but he was the only one to try.
  • Jesus calls him, his rock. What did he mean?
  • In slicing off the slave's ear, was Peter not understanding his mission?
  • Then Peter denies his knowledge of Jesus three times
  • Did Peter think he was wrong to follow Jesus?
The Apocrypha fills in the later life of Peter.
  • (31:30) "The Sophia of Jesus Christ" or "The Wisdom of Jesus":
  • 12 men, 7 female disciples, most prominent Mary Magdalene.
  • All are commanded to go out and preach the gospel.
  • From pride, Peter denounces her for made-up stories.
  • The movement dies until Jesus appears to Peter.
  • Now Peter has the power to heal.
  • Paul appears - radical newcomer - take message to Gentiles.
  • James, brother of Jesus, wants only Jews in the movement.
  • James was the early leader of the Church, not Peter.
Rivalry with Simon Magus.
  • (42:30) Wives went with the missionaries, except for Paul and Barnabas.
  • At a church for Domitilla, is a fresco of Petronilla, the martyr, Peter's daughter.
  • Healing proved one's connection to God.
  • Simon Magus turns the whole church away from the apostles.
  • "The Acts of Peter" tells of the duel between Simon and Peter.
  • Peter sees the demons holding Simon aloft and vanquishes them.
  • Simon drops, leg broken, off to doctors, botched job, death
  • Later writers say Peter baptized in the Tiber.
Sex Practice dooms Peter.
  • (53:00) Peter teaches strict Jewish practice - -sex for pleasure was a sin.
  • Teaches celibacy to wives of powerful men in Rome.
  • Peter and Paul in the Mamertinum Prison (Tullianum) in the Comitium.
  • They got out, maybe by converting their guards,
  • just in time for crazy Nero's campaign against the Christians.
  • Peter leaves city, just as he had abandoned Christ at the cross.
  • In 64 AD, Quo vadis, domine?
  • crucified upside dow
  • The bones of Peter in Rome are missing the feet.
  • His feet may have simply been cut off to remove him from the cross.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets :
1.4 - Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors


Recorded by scribes in 600 BC.

Set in Canaan, "about 1600 to 1700 BC")

(Lloyd Lewellyn-Jones) Sibling rivalry was strong at this time because the wealthy fathers had many wives. Boys constantly on the lookout for favoritism, like a multi-colored coat.

(Barry Gittlen) Khnumhotep III was a high official of Amenemhet I.

His tomb walls have colorful pictures. One shows travellers from Canaan visiting Egypt. They have beards and sharp noses. The Egyptians are clean shaven. They have multicolored coats. The word for coat is only used once elsewhere, and it means a long-sleeved coat, impractical for any work and so a sign of high status Vivid colors were rare and hard to make. Black took a long time, white required bleaching, red and purple were the most expensive. Red from the crocus plant. Imperial purple from shellfish, thousands of them. This coat meant that Joseph was their father's favorite son.

TELLING DETAIL: Joseph is sold for 20 shekels, the price of a slave at that time. We can chart the increase in the slave price to 40 and 60 shekels over the centuries, but the writer of the story got the ancient detail right

DETAIL: Sold to Potiphar, general for the Pharaoh Noblemen in Egypt had Semitic household servants. Brooklyn papyrus confirms that these Semites are given easier to pronounce Egyptian names.

Then Potiphar's wife, spurned, accuses Joseph of attempted rape.

In jail, told of a dream. servant will be freed in three days, Becomes the Pharaoh's dream interpreter in the 17th century.

Head rests instead of pillows, hold head above bugs. Images of creatures to repel nightmares.

No evidence of dream interpretation until 13 c, not sure it is used.

In Mesopotamia, gudea, 2400 B.C., had dream interpreted.


The generation that built the pyramids "was wiped out in decades." Famine, says Fekri Hassan, shown in tombs of the time. This impressed all pharaohs later on, A constant threat to the ancient world.. Everyone came to eating their children, and this brought down the government and all institutions. Looting. So the dynasty had to end. This was in the time of Ankhtifi.

So famine became an obsession.

DETAIL: But can a man convicted of attempted rape become a vizier? Clues in tombs at Amarna. Signet ring and gold chain to Joseph for authority. Ay (1450 BC) promoted by a pharaoh gas pictures of his investiture, looked in on by Akhenaten who gives Ay symbols of office, a gold chain and insignia, signet ring. So the story writer knew about Egyptian government,.

Aper-el, another vizier, tomb found. He had a Semitic name. So it can happen!

Siptah, 1200 BC, became king only because of his foreign minister, bay, the Assyrian kingmaker.

These are stories from later times, however.

Kilimanjaro gives ice cores that reveal the ancient climate of Egypt. Examine cores for dust, indicating earthquakes causing drought and famine. Dust event of 4,200 years ago. Not Joseph's time, but the earlier cannibalism event. Another dust clumps 3,600 years ago, Could be famine predicted by Joseph.

Famine is caused by water not reaching agricultural areas, land around lake Qarun in the west.

2200 BC Lake Qarun drought.

Someone dredged a canal to keep the area fertile = bahr yusef = waterway of Joseph

Joseph brings family to Pi-Ramesses, but the site is 300 years later.

So we look for Avaris. Excavate it, 300 years before Pi-Ramesses, at the time of Joseph. Only area was Canaanite, which had Semitic presence in the houses. bodies buried sideways, bible said Semites settled in nile delta. Palace found, a tomb, and a statue of a Semite smashed up. "Could this be Joseph?" No other palace for a private individual. Had to be someone like Joseph. And he had a multicolored cloak.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 1.5 - The Battle of Jericho
Personae: Experts
  • Eric Cline, Historian & Archaeologist
  • William G. Dever, Archaeologist,
    • [critic of "minimalists" like Finkelstein & Silberman]
  • Richard A. Gabriel,
  • Israel Finkelstein, Archaeologist
  • Felicity Cobbing, Curator [of Garstang]
  • Jonathan Tubb, Archaeologist
  • Barry Gibbs, Acoustical Engineer
  • Rachel Havrelock, Bible Scholar
  • Yossi Nagar, Cultural Anthropologist

00:01:15 - commercial break log

  • 14:00 - 17:45 - 3:45
  • 25:30 - 29:00 - 3:30
  • 34:11 - 38:11 - 4:00
  • 47:50 - 52:10 - 4:15 / total 15:30
01:01:18 - leaves 44:30 for the program (out of total 60:00)


  • Biblical story of Magic
  • The Israelites did invade, but they were aided by fortunate natural disasters, which seemed like magic
  • Richard Gabriel: all the magic is hyperbole. The six days of trumpet calls was to hide the noise of clandestine operators entering the city. The walls tumbling down is just the city's defenses being breached. But Joshua did invade Canaan from the outside.
  • Finkelstein: Canaanite commoners in the highlands took over the central cities of Canaan from their overlords and declared themselves a new people, the Israelites.

STORY: In 1400 BC, Joshua and company arrived in Palestine, used military intelligence (spies) to take twelve cities by magic.

No evidence of Joshua ever found.

There's a source of water for Jericho, still working today

There is a tell at Jericho, remains of city upon city over millennia.

Garstang - two strong parallel mud-brick walls at Jericho - dated 1,400 - when the Bible says the Battle of Jericho occurred. Those walls built on stone foundations. Stone retaining walls, mud-brick ramparts mud-brick walls.

Military intelligence - spies sent in - to an inn run by a prostitute. "Brothels were the motels of the ancient world."

Outside Jericho, burials found, skeletons 3,500 years old.

Canaanites were not evil. Good, normal people, refined, loved the good things of life. They were intelligent. The Canaanites were the first to use an alphabet. 40 characters replaced cuneiform, and led to our alphabet today. [All this is left out in the Bible.]

(17:45) Joshua supposedly crosses the Jordan and sets a camp. March around the city for 6 days with priests blowing trumpets. Fate giving way to fiction? Other armies use the same strategy. The Romans did that - marching up to a city and away, up and away. Then they all shout, bringing the walls down. All but Rahab killed.

Sound engineer says sound can move a powder. "Sound waves break the bonds between the powder particles." Brick is unaffected by sound. CONCLUSION: "The walls of Jericho may well have fallen down, but it wasn't sound that did it,"

So what brought them down? The Bible says that the Jordan stopped flowing for the priests. A force strong enough to block a river could destroy a city too.


When the river stopped flowing, the water level dropped, and the priests could cross over on dry land. Like 1927 when an earthquake blocked a river for 2 days. So an earthquake could have destroyed Jericho as well. Garstang discovered that earthquakes stuck Jericho several times,. Garstang said that is just what happened.

But there's a problem. Garstang asked Kathleen Kenyon to re-examine his findings.

Garstang missed crucial evidence regarding dating,

She found in the 1950s - Jericho was destroyed in 1550 BC. In Joshua's time, the city was uninhabited.


The Bible describes an invasion and conquest of many cities. But archaeology shows that most of them were not inhabited at the time.

"There is no evidence for a destruction in any period of time, and certainly not in the 15th century, when Biblical chronology would require it to be placed. No scholar today takes the fall of Jericho literally." (Dever)

So, if not by invasion, how did the early Israelites come to Canaan.

Merneptah stele first mention of Israel in 1207 BC. This gives us a benchmark date.

1225-1175: an earthquake destroys cities from Palestine to Greece and
20c earthquakes correlate with ancient destruction. The West Arabian fault. A systems collapse.

What is going on is one of the major revolutions in the history of the world. This is a complete annihilation of the old world and the emergence of something completely different. (Finkelstein)

This is "an earthquake storm."

Along the North Anatolian fault, the storm progressed east to west from 1939 to 1957 and again from 1992 to 1999, when it reached Istanbul.

So the Israelites peacefully occupied abandoned land.


Tell-tale signs of a new and distinctive people suddenly appear.

Israel Finkelstein: At Izbet Sartah, new house plan in the highlands. Silos for grain. In the Iron Age I, there are no pig bones.

They had always lived there. No immigration, no invasion, Israelites evolved out of Canaanites.

Their pottery was downscale Canaanite - no decorations, Poorer version of Canaanite society.

On the coast of Syria, archaeologists found an archive of documents about King Keret of Ugarit - he brought down cities with trumpet blasts.

Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs of today have the same DNA as the bones of the old Canaanites.

The Israelites and the Canaanites are the same. They are separated by theology, not by biology. They are the same. (Yossi Nagar)

The Israelites were Canaanites.

They were not military invaders. They did not strike a blow at the great city-states of Canaan, annihilate the Canaanite population. Most of us believe that the Israelites had largely been Canaanites, perhaps peasant farmers who were thrown off their land by their Canaanite overlords, people escaping the collapsing Canaanite city-states, fleeing from conscription and taxes, finding a foothold somewhere in the highland frontier which was sparsely occupied. (Dever)

But what about all the historical and geographical detail in the Bible story?

In my judgement, the stories came to be told by a small group who had made their way across the desert, who entered Canaan in some way or another, who had been involved in conflicts with Canaanites, and when they came to write their story hundreds of years later, they told their story as though it were the story of all Israelites, but in fact most Israelites had never been in Egypt. (Dever)

They embellished the story with myths.

FLASH: Davidovitz on the Merneptah Stele - Israel could be a mistranslation.

what was i referring to here?

The Bible's Greatest Secrets: 1.6 - David vs. Goliath
Expert Scholars [ no institutions given ]:
  • Barry Gittlen, archaeologist
  • Steven McKenzie, biblical historian
  • Gila Cook, archeological surveyor, a lady
  • Michael Whitby, ancient historian
  • Ross Voss, archaeologist
  • Bo Lawergren, music archaeologist
  • Baruch Halpern, ancient historian
  • Ronnie Reich, archaeologist
Technical Experts:
  • Chris Greener (1943-2015), one of the tallest men in Europe - 7 ft 6 1⁄4 in
  • He had acromegalic gigantism.
  • [Wikipedia: he had  pituitary gigantism, not diagnosed until 1970! ]
  • John Wass, hormone specialist, doctor for Chris Greener.
  • Alan Birlbeck, ballistics expert - [ demonstrate sling shot ]
  • Ron Thomson, ballistics expert - [ demonstrate sling shot ]


Outside the Bible, no evidence of his existence.

The House of David inscription - the Tel Dan Stele (870-750 BC).

  • Found in 1993, it changed everything.
  • Gila Cook finds a stone with the alphabet, rare at the time
  • "one of the most important archeological discoveries of the century,"
  • part of a monument recording a victory of the Israelites..
  • The defeated king was from "beit David," the "house of David."
  • "melech yisrael," "the king of israel"
  • So there was a David in history.

[ Wikipedia says that it was discovered by Avraham Biran at Tel Dan. But our show dramatizes her discovery of the stone while in the field. She couldn't read it.]

David vs. Goliath.

  • Single combat was quite common.
  • David was not so innocent.
  • He was the King's armor bearer,
  • a responsible position for an apprentice warrior.
  • He refused to wear armor to battle, increasing his mobility.
  • Goliath is nine or ten feet tall.
  • (13:45) Goliath was not without his weakness.
  • He had acromegalic gigantism, which causes the pituitary gland to produce too much growth hormone. It develops a tumor. So the bones grow, but the tumor may press upon the optic nerve, causing double vision or the loss of field of view.
  • Slings were on of the most lethal weapons of the ancient world.
  • David picked up stones for weapons
  • Philistine armor at Ashquelon suggests that Goliath's armor weighed 120 pounds.
  • David cuts off Goliath's head and takes trophies, showing his warfare savvy.

David attacks Saul's depression but gets no thanks for it

  • (25:30) Biblical writers are spin doctors. There is spin on David's story.
  • So historians today must undo the spin.
  • In 1000 BC, Israel was divided, north against south.
  • Saul, the king, was depressive.
  • David's lyre music calmed him. His music was medicinal.
  • He is indispensable to the king. It gets him to court.
  • But people praise David as a hero.
  • David must flee to Judah to escape Saul's jealousy.
  • He would build his own power base in Judah.

(36:45) David leaves a trail of bodies on his way to the throne. This is a real human in a rough racket in a rough neighborhood. This is not the David of Michelangelo. He is a far cry from the traditional David.

Naval [NOT IN WIKIPEDIA. Not in list of Kings of Judah. Not in entry on David. ]

  • Clan chief Naval was the most important man in Judah.
  • When David asked him for provisions, Naval refused.
  • When his men returned empty handed, enraged David threatened to kill him.
  • Just then, Naval was struck down by God. So David is the winner.
  • Just too good to be true. One suspects David had something to do with the death.

David goes to work for the Philistines!

  • David never openly challenges Saul, but his action say different.
  • Together, they overpower Saul and get him killed on the battlefield.
  • David becomes King in Saul's place:.
  • David laments Saul's death,
  • "but David laments the deaths of all his enemies."
  • David becomes the ruler of the nascent United Kingdom.

    The Bible's many statements of David's innocence emphasize his guilt. He has to deny 12 murders. This is a pattern of behavior.

    You don't deny something of which which you are not accused.

David chooses Jerusalem has his new capital for the United Kingdom.

  • (48:15) David chooses his capital in the middle, Jerusalem.
  • At the time it was an insignificant fortress town,
  • but it was well fortified.
  • He has to take it, despite high walls and great fortifications.
  • He takes the city by a surprise attack through its water system.

Was this water system myth or reality?

  • 1867 - the underground water system was found.
  • But only one tunnel of a network was found.
  • No one could date it. "The pottery fragments had been accidentally lost."
  • 1996 - new pottery fragments supply the missing dates.
  • Water cistern found below Jerusalem dates to MBA, 3,800 years ago.
  • That would be 1800 BC. Long before David.
  • So David could have used them to enter Jerusalem.
  • More stealth! Throw open the gates and take the city.

The Bible protects David's image until he becomes King. Then it changes.


  • The Bible suddenly paints David in truer colors.
  • The Bible becomes critical of the Bathsheba affair.
  • He sees her at bath, commits adultery with her and gets her pregnant,
  • brings her husband back from the front to make him seem the father
  • but Uriah the Hittite refuses to sleep with his wife
  • then David sends him back to the front with orders to be killed.
  • Cheating, lying, adultering, murdering -- presented by the Bible.
  • Scholars question whether David's unification of Israel is true.


  • A revolt casts doubt on David's achievement.
  • The whole of Israel and Judah rise up against him in the revolt of Absalom.
  • People hate David.
  • Just as the Revolt is stopped, Absalom dies on the battlefield.
  • This is that pattern again -- someone dies violently, Bible says it had nothing to do with David, and David mourns profusely.
So what is the conclusion?
  • David was more of a conqueror than someone elected.
  • Maybe united, but the people not so happy.
  • David ruled by terror, like all near-eastern kings.
  • He would do anything to keep and hold power.
  • His golden age was not so golden after all.
  • Why did the spin doctors work so hard in David's case?
  • The writers in Babylon needed a model for a united nation.
  • "This is who we want to be, who we once were - a united people under one ruler, serving our god."
  • With David, humans have not changed over the millennia in their lust for power.
  • Without his flaws, he may never have achieved his place in history.



The Bible's Greatest Secrets :
1.7 - Herod and the Bethlehem Massacre

Experts [ no institutions given ]:
If we focus on the man, not the crime, we may establish a motive for the crime. He is perfect for the "new science of psycho-biography."
Story of the Massacre

Herod the Great (74-4 BC) became the governor of Galilee at age 25.

  • Travelers from the East journey to Herod's palace in Jerusalem
  • Matthew calls them "Wise Men"
  • They saw a star, a sign that a new king of the Jews had been born
  • This news troubled Herod
  • A high priest warns him of a prophecy about this new king in Bethlehem
  • Herod asks the wise men to return to tell him where the child was
  • But, warned in a dream, the wise men secretly go home by a new route
  • Herod files into a rage, orders killing of all boys under two in Bethlehem
  • Joseph and Mary had fled to Egypt

Except for one line in Matthew, there is no ancient record of this crime.

Josephus knows nothing of it.

  • He got information from Nicholas of Damascus.
  • Nicholas was Herod's prime minister and court historian.
  • Josephus dwells on Herod's paranoia, violence, melancholy, greatness
Story of Herod, the Psychopath, and his large family
Josephus tells the story of Herod's family:
  • His father was a prime minister, friend of Caesar and all the Romans.
  • His grandfather converted to Judaism, and Herod was raised as a Jew.
  • But the Jews did not accept him as a Jew or as their King.
  • His mother was an Arab princess from Petra in Jordan.
  • Salome I was Herod's sister.
  • His first wife was Doris, whom he loved, and their son was Antipater.
  • He banished Doris at an opportune time.
  • He married Mariamne I, a beautiful Jewess from a royal family
  • She could give him the legitimacy he craves.
  • Herod wanted to earn the title, "King of the Jews," which he did get.
  • She would give him 5 children in 7 years.
  • Mariamne bore Herod two sons, Alexandros and Aristobulus IV.
  • Mariamne's only sibling was Aristobulus III of Judea (53-36 BC).
(16:00) Herod was a visionary at building - protection against a Jewish revolt.
  • Herodium, now in ruins, was two palaces in the desert, one on top of a man-made hill and one below, its swimming pool having a pavilion in the center.
    • with "rolling stones" to roll down on any who would assault
  • 40 miles south, on the Dead Sea shore, he build the fortress, Masada,
    • with a cliff top palace three stories high,
    • large pots for grain and
    • largest water cisterns ever discovered in the Roman Empire.
    • Herod could feel safe at Masada.
  • Altogether he had 20 fortresses with reflecting mirrors for communication.

Stories of the Messiah, desired by the Jews, terrified him.

  • Psalms of Solomon look for a king in the line of David to expel the Romans from Jerusalem without the force of arms.
  • Expect that his king would be a full-blooded Jew.
  • <29:15> Jews did not accept him as king, he courted them assiduously.
  • His expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (Herod's Temple),
    • built to win the hearts of the Jews.
    • some said it was the most beautiful building in the world
    • Because in Judaism there could be only one Temple, and that in Jerusalem, then, Herod's Temple was was the center of Judaism.
    • Marble and gold, towers and courtyard.
    • 18,000 workers - way more than Solomon.
    • The wailing wall is all that remains today.
  • Yet the Jews still despised him -- appointed by the Romans.
  • Caesarea Maritima, his great port city (22-12 BC),
    • named in honor of Augustus,
    • with aqueducts that remain to this day.
    • a Temple to a Roman god, the Emperor Augustus,
    • It made the Jews madder, being named for their great enemy.

h building, he was "an architectural genius and higly cultured man." At governing, he was a paranoid maniac.

  • 36 BC - Herod makes 17-year-old brother-in-law, Aristobulus III, high priest,
  • fearing that Jews would support Aristobulus III as "King" in his place.
  • Then Herod has Aristobulus III drowned at a party.
  • After he returns from Rome, where Octavian the new emperor forgave his support of rivals and confirmed him as governor of Judea,
    • he learns that his wife, Mariamne, had learned of his orders to have her killed if he did not return from Rome.
    • She hates him now and refuses him her bed,
    • (43:07) so he tries for for adultery.
    • Herod's sister, Salome, and her mother, Alexandra, testify against her.
    • He pronounces Mariamne guilty and has her executed.
    • She was "calm and serene as she went to her death."
  • He begins seeing the ghost of Mariamne.
  • "This is a true psychotic break."
  • Alexandra, Mariamne's mother, seizes power and declares herself queen.
  • She proclaims that Herod is no longer mentally fit to rule.
  • But she left Herod alone, and he came back fighting and killed her.
    • <52:00> Now he was 65.
    • Hearing rumors that his two sons by Mariamne, want to seize power,
    • ca. 7 BC - He kills them.
    • "Deeply paranoid, he relies on actions that have served him in the past."
    • He was completely unhinged.
    • This in the year that Jesus was born.
  • 5 days before his death, he kills Antipater II, his only son by Doris.
Back to the Massacre.

With so much evidence of Herod's villainy, why are the sources silent on this story?

Perhaps - Herod's killing of his sons was confused with the infants in Bethlehem, since they both too place in the same year.

  • Matthew does not say how many kids were killed.
  • The story magnifies with time - 14,000 killed - 64,000 - 144,000.
  • The Greek word for the massacre is aneilein (anaireo) which means the killing of innocents, even of just one.
  • It does not mean "massacre."
  • Bethlehem had a small population, and probably just 7 - 20 infants under two.
  • So anaireo would be the right word.
  • If it was so small, Josephus may have left it out because, compared to other Herod killings, this was insignificant.
  • The Jews did expect a Messiah from the line of David who would expel the Romans without military means.

CONCLUSION: Psycho-history shows that Herod was a paranoid maniac.

  • If anyone had a motive and a will to kill innocents, it was him.
  • But no other source mentions the killing of the innocents.
  • Herod's brutality created the conditions for Christianity to flourish.
  • From all the injustice he imposed on the land - someone would object.
  • Roman roads, Roman peace, more helps to the new religion.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets :
1.8 - Revelation: Visions of Armageddon

Experts [no institutions given]
  • Sir Anthony Kenny, "Stylometrist" [and expert on Wittgenstein]
    • [ A Styometric Study of the New Testament (1986) ]
  • Greg Carey, Biblical Historian
  • Ian Boxall, Biblical Historian
  • Dan Schowalter, Biblical Scholar
  • Eric H Cline, Historian
  • Adela Yarbro Collins, Biblical Historian
  • Norma Franklin, Archaeologist
  • David Parker, Biblical Historian
  • Fiona Bowie, Anthropologist
  • Paul Boyer, Historian
Revelation (uncovering) warns against Emperor worship, it does not predict the end of the world.

Stylometry: John of Revelation is not John of Gospel.

  • 80 AD - scrolls delivered to Ephesus, including Revelation by John
  • He does not describe himself as a disciple of Jesus.
  • Stylometry : word frequency tests (common words, de & kai).
  • kai is twice as frequent in Revelation as in any other book of the NT
  • John the Disciple rarely used kai
  • Revelation used de only 7 times, but in frequent in most ancient Greek texts.
  • Kenny carried out 99 similar tests on these two books.
  • Shows that John of Patmos is not John the Disciple

Meaning on the author of Revelation.

  • Patmos was an ideal for exiles. Romans gave exiles quite a bit of freedom.
  • John of Patmos address his audience, "I, John, your brother,"
  • as if the seven churches would know him.
  • Martyr comes from martus, witness, first used in Revelation
  • Written AD 90 under Domitian, not known for persecutions
  • Only mentions one, Antipas, who died from testimony.
  • So John had another target of his anger.
  • <15:45> Pergamum, major early Christian center.
  • Lots of temples there for public sacrifices to the Emperor,
  • giving much-needed meat to the poor.
  • The Roman Emperors were those who ordered the Crucifixion.
  • By John's time, 7 Emperors had ruled -- the beast with 7 heads
  • also Rome was the city of 7 hills
  • What upset him - Church of Ephesus, not too hostile to Rome.
  • To John, they were committing idolatry.
  • New idea - he may not have been prophesying the end of the world,
  • but warning about the dangers of Emperor worship, pretty much required.

Meaning of Apocalypse.

  • Still a problem - did "apocalyptic" have a different meaning then.
  • There had been other apocalypses in the previous 200 years.
  • Key feature - reveals God's will directly, which no mortal can access.
  • Needs help to understand these revelations.
  • Justice will prevail in the morrow.
  • <28:30> 4 Horsemen - Zechariah - God's awareness of the world
    • red - bloodshed and idolatrous luxury
    • black - famine
    • pale or green - death
    • white horse - rider has a bow, vengeance from Rome's enemy, Parthians with their cavalry of bowmen
  • [MUST REMEMBER - how early Christians hated Romans - then ]
  • Armageddon, the battlefield, evokes hatred of Romans
  • Har Megiddo (mountain of Megiddo), base for Roman VI Legion, beastly.
  • nicknamed, "The Ironsides" - crucifiers, flayers alive
  • Perfect place for a battle between Good and Evil.

What of the most famous prophecy - the beast, 666?

  • <41:00> If he were an emperor, which one?
  • Names as numbers in Greek and Hebrew.
  • ANNA = 102 [ 1 + 50 + 50 + 1 ].
  • Pompeii graffito: "I love a girl whose number is 545"
  • John gives the number, and readers have to work backwards.
  • "Let him who had understanding calculate the number of the beast."
  • "CAESAR NERO" in Hebrew = 360+306 [200+60+100 / 50+6+200+50]
  • Is the mystery solved? Not quite.

Then came the Oxyrhynchus papyri.

  • Waste paper from a dump, 30 feet deep.
  • A scrap of Revelation, Papyrus 115, gives the number 616.
  • It dates to the 3rd century, ca. 225-275 AD.
  • In Revelation 13:18, the number is 616 (chiiotasigma (ΧΙϚ).
X I S 616
600 10 6
  • Caligula is a nickname for Gaius Caesar (37-41).
  • GAIOS KAISAR - in Greek = 284 + 332 = 616.
  • 3 + 1 + 10 + 70 + 200 = 284 / 20 + 1 + 10 + 200 + 1 + 100 = 332
  • Caligula had a statue of himself put in the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • What of John's visions?
  • Like those of shamans in other cultures, traveling to unknown worlds.
  • A message for the community to correct, encourage, support.
    Sigma is 10? WTF. See this chart for more confusion.
    Here is an "image gallery" of numerical meanings. Looks like there are some archaic letters intermixed.

The truth about Revelation is to be found in the past, not in the future.

  • <52:45> Not prophecies of the end of the world.
  • Warning against being seduced by the emperor.
  • [Why can't he just say it?]
  • Some say he was remarkable in prediction of future events.
  • These apparent predictions have changed with the times.
  • "Chernobyl," e.g., means "wormwood" as in "Star Wormwood."
  • Years for the world's end: 1000, 1666, 1843/1844, 1987, 2000.
  • So his message was for the church of the 1st century.
  • He did predict the Fall of Rome and Triumph of Christianity.
  • At Ephesus, statues of Augustus and Livia defaced with crosses.

[ So the human folly of reading in interpretations and predictions that are not there came to define Revelation as being about predictions and missing the message? ]

The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 2.1 - The Early Years of Jesus
Personae: Experts
  • Prof. James H. Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Mark Goodacre, Historian, University of Birmingham
  • Prof Eric M. Meyers, Archaeologist, Duke University
  • Claire Pfann, University of the Holy Land
  • Dr. Michael Molnar, Astronomer
  • Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Criminologist,
    • Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and
    • expert on the status of women in Palestine.
  • Prof Sam Berry, Geneticist, University College, London
  • Joe Zias, Archaeologist, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Rami G. Khouri, Jordanian, excavated between Mt. Nebo and Jericho


Caesarea - HQ of the Roman occupation of Judea

Their aqueduct remains. Completed under King Herod in 22 BC.

The only other structure to remain in the Theatre, now restored and used for productions.

It contained a temple to the Roman Emperor, Augustus. There are outlines of an ancient harbor, now covered by the sea.

In Jerusalem today, a museum of crosses. Olive trees. The upright would stay in place, the victim carrying only the cross bar. A seat will be put on the upright if the plan is to prolong the agony.

1947: Dead Sea Scrolls discovered.

"No Room at the Inn"

Mark, not Matthew, tells of the journey to Bethlehem and the "Inn."

villages built on hilltops for security

(14:21) - after commercials starting at 9:50 - total of 4:30 minutes)

houses two stories: people slept on roof in good weather, kept their animals in their mangers on the first floor. They gave off heat. So people sharing houses with animals is not unusual.

Families are living this way today in small settlements of Palestinians south of Bethlehem, Goats eat at one end, the people at the other end.

Caves also used as stables.

Pfann: Read Luke chapter 2 carefully. The couple did not go door to door, looking for room in a hotel, Joseph probably had friends in Bethlehem ("his ancestral home"), maybe other mothers to help bring in the baby.

Why put Jesus in the manger? "No room at the inn," word kataluma for "inn" also means "upper room." Meaning, no room in the upper room with the rest of the family.

The Wise Men

Astrology (two horoscopes) has been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, therefore among the Jews in the time of Jesus, and origin of the star in the east.

Our calendar was created by the monk, Dennis the Little (Dionysius Exiguus), in the 6th century, who added the reigns of kings together, miscalculating by six years. So Jesus was born in 6 BC.

Aries represented Herod, and there was a prophecy of a king to conquer the world.

April 17, 6 BC -

  • Jupiter was in Aries, looking like a star,
  • Saturn came into Aries, and
  • so did the Sun,
  • The moon eclipsed and revealed Jupiter, yet another favorable sign.
  • Jupiter emerges as a morning star, the most powerful time to birth a king.

All these indicated the birth of a super king, the Messiah.

If the wise men came from Persia, they could have stopped at Petra, a city of the Nabateans known for trading, and bought there the frankincense (scented smoke to purify temples), and myrrh (king-anointing oil), over which the Petrans had a monopoly.


(26:45) The Virgin Birth in the Animal World

In those days, death by stoning of women who shame the family with an unwed birth.

"The Gospels say he kept the news of Mary's pregnancy secret, and he married her before she gave birth." [WTF? DID I EVER KNOW THAT?]

There are virgin births in the animal world, but the offspring are always female unless 2 rare conditions occur:

  1. the mother having both X and Y chromosomes; about 1 in every 5,000,000 women, but most of them are born without a womb
  2. so she would have to have also had a serviceable womb, an extreme rarity but not an impossibility

Celsus and Titalian [WHO???] made fun of the virgin birth.

So - since it was so bad to be a slut, the Christians must have believed the virgin birth to be true. (argument from something?)

Family of Jesus

So, now on to Nazareth, where Jesus grew up

(38:45) Nazareth gets few pilgrims as tourists,, The village is being reconstructed with attention to detail, making the village a living museum.

According to the gospels, Jesus had

  • two sisters, whose names are not recorded and
  • four brothers: James, Jude, Joseph, and Simeon.

Could be half-siblings.

Played with dolls, pets, and balls.

Nazareth never mentioned in ancient histories of Jews, so it must have been isolated.

Sepphoris, the capital of Galilee, was an opulent city, not far from Nazareth.

It was the northern home of Herod Antipas.

Jesus could have seen there how the upper class lived,

There was an uprising there, and the Romans burned the city to the ground(d.

(54:50) Jordanians find remains of a pilgrimage site between 3rd and 6th century AD. A pool was built at a monastery to re-enact the baptism of Jesus.


The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 2.2 - The Mission of Jesus
Personae Experts
  • Prof. James H. Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Orna Cohen, Conservator of Antiquities
  • Mordechai Aviam, Archaeologist, Israel Antiquities Authority
  • Rev Dr. Tom Wright, Canon Theologian, Westminster Abbey (2000-2003)
  • Dr. Ronnie Reich, Archaeologist, Israel Antiquities Authority
  • Prof Jerome Murphy O'Connor, Archaeologist, École Biblique, Jerusalem
  • Prof Eric M. Meyers, Archaeologist, Duke University
  • Dr. Helen K. Bond, Historian, University of Edinburgh [ university page ]
While the priests serve the rich, Jesus come for the poor

Situation: Jews are losing their land and wealth to Roman conquest and taxation.

A Messiah is coming. One would expect him to have soldiers as disciples?

Jesus and the Four Fishermen (SAJJ)

But Jesus was not a military man, and his disciples were fishermen.

Simon Peter, a fisherman, his first recruit.

1985 - The great lake known as the Sea of Galilee dropped, due to a drought, and revealed, next to 2,000 year old pottery, "one of the great discoveries of modern times, an ancient fishing boat."

The boat filled up with silt clay from a nearby river after it sank, So it was well-preserved.

40 BC - 40 AD. Whoever owned that boat was well-to-do.

Then Peter's brother, Andrew, and two other fishermen, James and John.

Mordechai thinks he has found the house of Peter in Capernaum. [It has a dog-gone church built over it.]

A woman - but not a "disciple"

Jesus "is the only teacher we know of from antiquity who includes women into his group." Including a Samaritan woman. The disciples were upset at that. 12 disciples, like 12 tribes, meant a fresh start.

The Pharisees ran the Temple for Power and Profit

Every day at dawn and dusk the Pharisees drew lots to make their sacrifices of pure white lambs. They sprinkled the blood in front of a large curtain in the Sanctuary. God dwelt behind the curtain.

OH! The Essenes, who led the community at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, were also critics of the temple system, just like Jesus. Their community at Qumran was a rival to the community at the Temple

They criticized the priests for keeping secrets and talking as much money from the temple budget as possible.

1967 - found the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the high priests. The archaeologists had 14 years to excavate before the area of Jerusalem was redeveloped. What they found lies underground, lavish houses and one had a ritual bath. The Jews believed that contact with a corpse or a dead animal or bodily fluids such as blood made them ritually unclean and they had to purify themselves.

Every town had a public bath.

But this house had several so it had to belong to a top priest

The priests had a bridge linking their mansion to the temple, so as to avoid the common people.

The Mania for Purity

The priests manipulated purity laws to keep the undesirables down.

If a menstruating woman touches a mattress, it was impure and had to be purified.

Purity was an obsession, a mania.

The Mishnah said that the lame, the blind, the sick, the deformed were all forbidden to enter the temple -- the very people Jesus wanted to reach.

Jesus healed a lame man at a pool of spring water at Bethesda in Jerusalem, and that place existed. It was just outside the Sheep Gates at the north of the city. An ancient temple to Asclepius was there and a [group] of rock pools. They also had lots of baths, including small ones for the outcasts at night. The attitude was, you deserved your misfortunes.

Jerash in Jordan, built from taxes, from Jewish tax collectors who worked for Rome and kept a cut for themselves. They were outcasts, so Jesus welcomed them.

When Jesus forgave a prostitute, the Priests were outraged. But Jesus said, he was just obeying the law to love one's neighbor.

The Good Samaritan.

But Jesus didn't stop there. He told stories that were upsetting. The parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritans had earlier become enemies of the Jews, even worshipping the same god, So loving thy neighbor meant loving you enemy. This was bad.

Jesus is a barrier breaker. When you destroy a barrier, you might be destroyed by its collapse.

Aramaic is still spoken in parts of Syria and in Syrian Orthodox Churches.

The Turn the Other Cheek Story (Tom Wright)

In antiquity, when a man would hit you on your right cheek, it would be with the back of his right hand, a dismissive gesture given to inferiors, such as a slave or a child, or a woman. To say, now hit the other cheek, it meant now hit me with the palm of your hand, meaning that we are equals. You maintain your dignity with wry humor at the expense of the bully who's putting you down. This was Irony, Wry Humor. Jesus is not saying, Be a Doormat.

Jesus is rejecting the violence of previous messiahs. If you fight evil with evil, evil will win. He proposed pacifist resistance.

No leader, no prophet in Jewish history, had spoken in such terms.

Worse, he took his message to the gentiles. A Roman centurion asked him to heal a servant, and Jesus did it.

But the Messiah was traditionally only for the Jews. Jesus broke with tradition.

Then Jesus took his message to Jerusalem, under the very noses of the priests.

He rides through the fabled East Gate, mounted on a donkey (from Zechariah) on the eve of Passover.

Pontius Pilate had to come down from Caesarea with troops in case of trouble.

In the temple courtyard, the pilgrims had to exchange their impure coins for pure temple coins, with which to buy blemish-free white doves for sacrifice. The permanently impure, such as the sick, were kept out by guards. Jesus let the money changers know what he thought. A deliberately calibrated act.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets : 2.3 - The Final Days of Jesus

12 hours before his death, Jesus began provoking his enemies. Why?

At the Passover meal, Jesus told Judas "to go do what he had to do."

Matthew: Judas was the only disciple whom Jesus called a friend.

On the way home, rest in Gethsemane, where he sweated blood.

SWEATING BLOOD: Hematidrosis [hemidrosis, hematohidrosis] can happen to people under extreme emotional stress, like those awaiting execution. Not stigmata. Capillaries supplying the sweat glands break,

JUDAS: The Greek word paradidomi is mistranslated as betrayal.

It is always translated as "handed over" elsewhere except in the case of Judas.

It is s para dido mi, meaning "hand over," or, here, "handed over." The handing over is police work. Police must be paid. That explains the thirty pieces of silver.

There was another messianic pretender in the region. Taheb, a Samaritan, was also preaching to large crowds at the foot of Mt. Gerizim.

Caiaphas needed a crime to sell to the people. He gets blasphemy, deserving to die under Jewish and Roman law.

CRUCIFIXION: Turns out that the hands can support the weight of the body if the feet are also nailed in place. As soon as the weight is put on the feet, the hands hold okay.

The Romans sometimes had 500 rebels to crucify in a day. They used roads lined with olive trees, which were used as crosses.

Often tombs are built in quarries, easiest way to get rid of an unclean thing like a corpse.

How could Jesus have survived the cross, so that he could walk out of the tomb?

MANDRAKE: an anesthetic plant at the time, It renders people as if they are dead, insensitive to pain. Soaked in a sponge several times to become saturated.

Dioscorides, a doctor, wrote about mandrake.

Hyacine vapor is released for breathing in.

Vinegar was used to dissolve medicines.

Certainly, there are reports of people having survived crucifixion.

Josephus had three friends near Bethlehem who had been crucified. One of the men lived happily ever after.

BUT - 4 man teams of Romans did the crucifixions, one is the exactor mortis who used a spear to make sure of death. Also there a loss of body fluid.

Little or no intermarriage among Jews of his time. The portraits of Jesus with the long thin face are not found in Israel. A complete different type, The Jewish skull is wider and rounder.

EARLIEST PICTURES OF JEWISH PEOPLE IN THE WORLD: From a synagogue in Syria of the 3rd century. Short, curly hair, Afro in style, and a short cropped black beard.

Paul to the Corinthians, disgraceful for a man to have long hair. He knew some disciples of Jesus.

Afro-Asiatcs in the genealogy of Jesus. Darker skin.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets: 2.4 - The Mysteries of Moses
  • James K. Hoffmeier, Egyptologist, Wheaton College, Indiana
  • Prof. Christos Doumas, University of Athens, Greece
  • Prof. Hans Goedicke, Egyptologist, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
  • Prof. Daniel Stanley, Geologist, Smithsonian institution, Washington, DC
  • Prof. Emmanuel Anati, archaeology, University of Lecce in Italy
  • Prof. Cain Hope Felder, Howard University, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Edgar Pusch, Director of Excavations, Qantir
  • Dr Colin Macdonald, The British School of Archaeology, Athens, Greece
  • George Askordalakis, fisherman of Malkas
Problem Never Mentioned:

Narrator: "A gigantic eruption took place in the 16th century BC, well within the time frame of the life of Moses."

But the lifespan of Ramesses II was 1290-1224.

(1) Exodus story - "archaeology is adding weight" to that.

No evidence of wandering in the wilderness? None has been found, and charred bones can last thousands of years. But there is:

Evidence of Semitic writing in the Sinai:

  • At Serabit El Khadim (a mountain in the Sinai) there is a cave, with a turquoise mine, with a graffito in Semitic, "the language from which Hebrew is derived":
    • el olam, meaning, "god eternal"
  • Sheer amount of slave graffiti in mine means Hebrews could record important things.
  • "If the Hebrews could write, then perhaps the story of Moses is true after all."
Exodus story has details later writers could not know:
  • Egyptians in the Nile Delta made houses of mud brick,
  • houses in Jerusalem were made of stone.
  • (9:26) Hebrews enslaved to build store cities, "Pithom and Ram'ses."

Geological survey and archaeology reveal:

Old city of Avaris

  • Ramesses (1290-1224)
  • Egyptians: he built his capital in Delta, "The House of Ramesses"
  • 30 miles south of Tanis was a branch that dried up in 1200-1101.
  • 20 square miles of ruins with statues, temples to Ramesses II (In Qantir today)
  • The city was first called Avaris, then the House of Ramesses.
  • That's where the Hebrews built their city.
  • Then it was moved to Tanis.

New city of Tanis

  • Then, after the Avaris branch silted up, the city was moved to Tanis.
  • Tanis in the Delta was found with statues of Ramesses II in the 1930s
  • Pottery dating shows that Tanis was founded in 1,100.
  • By then the Hebrews were settled in Canaan
  • Merneptah stele lists nations attacked by Egypt in 1220 BC
  • So the Hebrews couldn't be in Egypt in 1100 BC.

If Hebrews wrote story out of while cloth from later, they would have referred to the capital as Tanis, instead of Ram'ses, a city that did not exist after 1,000.

So a scribe in Jerusalem had to have an account to read.

(2) Moses in the bulrushes.

(18:30) Copied from similar story about Sargon?

Then why does the Hebrew story have crucial words in Egyptian, not Babylonian?

reed (suph), Nile, bulrushes, riverbank, basket, Moses ("one who was born") - all Egyptian words.

How would a 5th century Jew know these words?

(3) "Monotheism was the fruit of much later Jewish thinkers."

  • Moses denounces gods of Egypt, declares only one true god.
  • So monotheism in the Moses story must be ex-post facto?
  • At Amarna, uncovering the ruins of revolutionary cult of monotheism.
  • Akhenaten in the 1300s denounced polytheism.
  • His was "the first expression of monotheism."
  • Parallels with ideas in the Bible.
  • Psalm 104. has verses from Akhenaten's hymn to the Sun
  • The breakthrough to monotheism had been made.
(4) The plagues "could have been natural phenomena, triggered by yearly flooding on the Nile." [exodus-theorie, disaster-theorie]

The ten plagues are remembered in the Passover ceremony, recited aloud one by one as the hand dips into a glass of wine and then dabs it on a plate below. [DID NOT KNOW THAT.]


May 18, 1980 - Mt. St. Helens volcano eruption
  • dust darkens sky and covers the ground.
  • snow-white powder on the ground ("fine dust all over the land")
  • rain with a fine hail ("thunder and hail"),
  • a surge of tailed frogs,
  • cattle and horses dead in the blast
Eruption with Three Names: Minoan, Santorini, Thera Eruption

V.E.I. = 7.
4 times more ejecta than Krakatoa
Archaeologists : 1500 BC
Recent archaeologists - 1590 - 1570 BC
Radiocarbon: 1627 - 1600 BC
Greenland ice cores: 1642 - disputed
North American tree ring data: 1629-1628

one of the largest volcanic events in recorded history devastated

  • the island of Santorini (once called Thera),
  • the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri on Thera, destroyed 1627.
  • communities and agricultural areas on nearby islands and on the coast of Crete.
"There are no clear ancient records of the eruption."
1940s - Santorini Eruption - not as strong

What evidence that Santorini affected Egypt?

Goedicke and Stanley

  • ash from the Santorini eruption could have reached Egypt.
  • Stanley drills for core samples of mud, sand, silt in the Delta.
  • Volcanic shards from Santorini found.
  • From the size of the shards,
  • the blast have been heard in Egypt
  • and darkened the sky in Egypt
  • and sent an ash fall over Egypt.
In Karnak, a stone inscription of a time of darkness dates to 1538 BC

"The Gods caused the sky to come in a tempest of rain with darkness, unleashed without pause, louder than the cries of the masses "

Pusch at Qantir

Found stables for 500 horses, tethering stones and chariot hubcaps, all these for 500 horses, the number mentioned in Exodus.

A tidal wave caused the Parting of the Sea of Reeds.

Yam Suph is Sea of Reeds.

The Sea of Reeds could mean any of the saltwater lakes between the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean Sea.

Even in Biblical times, they were fed by seawater through ancients canals and seasonal tides.

These lakes are surrounded by reeds.

A tidal wave allows Jews to pass, but kills the Egyptians

(44:40) Macdonald

  • The island of Crete is 70 miles south of Santorini.
  • Santorini eruption hit north coast of Crete with pumice
  • Pumice stone is too heavy to be airborne for 70 miles.
  • but it is light enough to float along the coast,
  • Macdonald found pumice on a 200 foot high hill,
  • carried there either by human hands or a tidal wave.
  • Recent find of pumice in Egypt itself from Santorini.


  • lived in the small fishing village of Malkas during the 1940s eruption
  • a sequence of tidal surges,
  • each one preceded by a massive withdrawal of water.
  • it went up to the houses in the harbor,
  • and in fifteen minutes, it went back again
  • it exposed the whole seabed
  • you could see the fish jumping everywhere


  • Egypt from 500 miles away from Santorini
  • There are no islands to block the effects.
  • Tidal wave at 400 miles an hour reaches Egypt in two hours.
  • Huge withdrawal of water just before hitting the coast.
  • That's when the Jews crossed the Sea of Reeds.
  • Then the water would return and drown the Pharaoh.
No Egyptian records of the cataclysm.

"It's not something the Egyptians would have been proud to remember."

But there is an inscription of the time with an intriguing reference

And I, Pharaoh, allowed the abomination of the Gods
the immigrants to depart
the earth swallowed their footsteps
this was the directive of the god Khnum
the primeval water who came one day, unexpectedly

[So there may be a record after all?]

(5) At "the mountain of god," Moses gets the 10 commandments.

(53:30) Ananti

  • Is it St. Catherine's on Mt. Sinai, where pilgrims go?
  • Mt. Karkom is 100 miles north of the gulf of Aqaba
  • BGS: Mt Karkom - "mountain of God" Wikipedia - "Mountain of Saffron"
  • It's a plateau and a mountain fitting the Biblical description.
  • Surrounded by circular stone structures, remains of dwellings.
  • Dwellings dated to 2000 BC, making the Exodus earlier
  • Altar with 12 standing stones under the mountain - from same time
  • Bible says Moses built an altar with 12 pillars
  • 2000 BC rock carving - looks like the tablets of the law.
  • Carving is divided into 10 squares.

"The more we investigate, the more we discover that the Biblical stories regarding Exodus are reliable."

[ Yet Wikipedia says of this theory of Ananti:

Although, on the basis of his findings, Anati advocates the identification of Har Karkom with Mount Sinai, the peak of religious activity at the site may date to 2350-2000 BC, and the mountain appears to have been abandoned perhaps between 1950-1000 BC; the exodus is sometimes dated between 1600-1200 BC. However, no archaeological evidence has been supported by scholars to maintain a date of 1600-1200 BC. Anati instead places the Exodus, based on other archaeological evidence at around 2300 BC. ]


  • In Egypt, Moses learned reading and writing at the Royal Nursery
  • like being educated at Oxford or Harvard


(6) The whole story of Moses takes place in North Africa.


  • Moses did not look like Charlton Heston.
  • "Moses was born in Africa. He lived all his life in Africa. Moses was, in my mind, an African person, a black person."
(7) So, in conclusion, how did the Bible get so many facts right?
  • Stories passed down through generations?
  • Or that it was written down from the beginning?
  • Then the chief scribe would have been the one most literate among them, the one educated in Pharaoh's court -- Moses himself.
  • "Explains why the archaeological record matches so well with the Biblical account."

The Bible's Greatest Secrets: 2.5 - Noah's Ark
Personae Experts:
  • Tom Vosmer, marine archaeologist
  • Ian Plimer, geologist
  • Lloyd Bailey, Biblical scholar
  • Allen Millard, Biblical historian
Look at the Ark from the Eyes of Science and
"prove that a global flood did cover the whole earth."

Noah's complexity noted:

  • After the flood, plants the first vineyard.
  • Gets drunk, wanders from camp, loses his clothes, falls asleep.
  • Shem and Ham find him.
  • They cover his nakedness [walking backwards with a cloth]
  • The next morning, Noah curses them for that.

Problems of the Ark Story : Size [ see Battle of the Boats ]

  • Ark was "nearly the size of The Titanic."
  • [ WHOA! Ark was 450 feet long, the Titanic, 883 feet ]
  • made of gopher wood, seared with pitch
  • no steel frame - impossible for a 450 foot long boat
  • Wood cannot maintain shape of the boat.
  • It would distort at sea, spring hundreds of leaks, and sink like a stone.
  • So it had to be smaller than the Biblical dimensions.
Problems of the Ark Story : Number of Animals
  • Story 1: Two of every kind of animal could not fit - 30,000,000 species
  • Story 1: Perhaps just the animals in Noah's neck of the woods.
  • Story 2: 7 pairs of clean animals, 10 species of them. That's 140.
    • 1 pair of each impure animal, designated as 30 species or more in Deuteronomy (pig, hare, lizard, snail, etc.), making a total of 60.
    • Then 7 pairs of designated clean birds (doves, ducks, and cockerels)
    • So a total of only 260 animals.
    • Child's play compared to 30 million.
    • Clean animals were suitable for sacrifices to God.
Now what of the global flood?
  • (15:00) Would have left uniform marine sediments across earth and the ocean floor.
  • There is no signature of this global flood. Overwhelming evidence: no.
  • Idea of a global flood is impossible.
  • Water up to the Himalayas = five times the amount in the oceans.
  • 40 days of rain is not enough.
  • If deep springs, the crust would have been quicksand.
  • Water covering the land means so much water in the air to flood the lungs.
  • Geysers also release toxic gases, like sulfur dioxide.
  • A comet's friction and impact would be 12 trillion megatons of TNT,
  • heating the atmosphere to 12,000 degrees F, hotter than surface of sun.
No remains of ark on Mt. Ararat.

  • Evidence would rot away in centuries.
  • (26:00) But people keep looking and finding shapes,
  • from aerial photos from 1949, "suppressed" by the CIA,
  • to satellite photos today.
  • One showed a dark object 450 feet long.
  • "you can see dark shapes from the air, some ark-shaped, some not."
  • Lloyd Bailey: there has never been a boat on Ararat.
Where did this impossible story come from?
  • Written down by Jewish priests in Babylon in 500s BC.
  • From the story of Utnapishtim's Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh,
  • [ Dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (circa 2100 BC) ]
  • where the Noah character was Gilgamesh,
  • or the story of Atra-hasis, even earlier [???], found recently by Millard.
  • Maybe it was a local flood?
  • ancient Hebrew has one word for land, country, and earth.
  • So it could have been a local flood, described ambiguously.
The Woolleys find the remains of the local flood.
  • Find silt deposited by river water from 5,000 years ago.
  • It was a massive layer, awesome.
  • 3 Mesopotamian towns hit by large river floods -
  • So there was a flood in Mesopotamia - truth behind the tales.
  • No huge ark, no landing on Mt Ararat, no Biblical Noah.
Who is Sumerian Noah?
  • (41:10) Sumerians invented writing, the wheel, and accounting
  • Sumerian Noah was a merchant of Shuruppak.
  • He was rich in gold and silver and wore eye make-up.
  • Forget the bearded figure in a robe.
  • He plied the Euphrates in a barge to carry his goods.
  • So he was a businessman, not a farmer.
  • The larger the barge, the better.
  • Gilgamesh's barge had sections.
  • Several barges tied together, like a pontoon floatable assembly.
  • Loads grain, animals, and beer for sale.
  • This Noah was the King of Shuruppak.
  • Anyone not paying debts, including a king, could wind up a slave.
How did this Sumerian Flood happen?
  • "Parts of Euphrates were navigable only when river levels were at their peak."
  • Depart when the melt waters come.
  • Melting snow from Armenian mountains increase flow in Euphrates in July.
  • Only then were river channels deep enough for large vessels.
  • Odds of a catastrophic river flood in Mesopotamia were small.
  • If one did happen, that would be one for the books.
  • Babylonian tablets say Noah and family were eating on the barge.
  • Then came a catastrophic flash flood over the Sumerian plain.
  • Sumerian flood was 7 days. Couldn't see land for 7 days.
What happened to the Sumerian Noah?
  • (54:45) Barge swept downstream into the Persian Gulf.
  • No freshwater meant that they had to drink beer.
  • For some reason, he couldn't get back to Shuruppak.
  • If his creditors survived the deluge, they would want their money back.
  • If he was fleeing debts, he would not want to return.
  • Babylonian tablets say that Noah went to Dilmun,
  • the Sumerian name for modern Bahrain.
  • There are hundreds of thousands of burial mounds there.
  • So a king who survived the flood could become a legend.
So the Hebrews in Babylon retell the story to keep the lesson alive -- there's a dreadful price to pay for disobeying God's laws.

The Bible's Greatest Secrets: 2.6 - The Apostle Paul

Saul was hired by Jews to wipe out the Christian movement, stone them to death in quarries.

The leaders of the Jesus movement were James, brother of Jesus, and Peter, both Jews who kept the law.

On the way to Damascus, Saul had a vision and became Paul. An advantage he had was Roman citizenship, and he was a prolific letter-writer, the letters dictated to followers.

Paul preached the Messiah to the Jews that the Law was obsolete, and they hated him and tried to kill him, but he got wind of the intention and escaped over the wall of a town in a basket.,

Peter and James kept to the law. Once Paul had them to dinner and they ate with the Gentiles, but later changed their minds and regretted that act. Paul traveled to Jerusalem and compromised with them. He would preach to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews

Paul decided to hit the outlying cities first, then save Rome for last.

Maps in those days were not so good,. They used precise itineraries, lists of town to town they must traverse,

When he got to Philippi, how meet his first convert? He went to a fabric maker, who used purple dye, Lydia. Women were excluded from pagan cults. And Lydia would take to a tent maker, a fellow in fabrics and she would have a large network. She becomes a believer.

Lydia was the first Christian convert in Europe. He won many more converts in Philippi, but then he started preaching and healing in public. He was thrown in prison. According to Luke, an act of God saved Paul. An earthquake broke open his cell, and he convinced the magistrates to set him, a Roman citizen, free.

(41) An earthquake can release ball lightning on the ground, which can dazzle a person for a while. Is that what happened on that earlier road to Damascus? It can blind people for several days. [Why mention this now? Haven't we passed on from that?]

Corinth, 300 miles south of Philippi, and known for sexual promiscuity. One big red-light district. But pagans were receptive. Tent makers found him a place to preach. He prompted speaking in tongues.

"Leaving the Corinthian church in such a state of turmoil was a decision that would come back to haunt him."

Heads for Ephesus, capital of Asia Minor and home to cult of Artemis. Paul, once more in prison. Corinthians wrote him of trouble there, his hard work there unraveling, He came up with a tactical masterstroke -- he wrote them a letter, one of the most famous letters in Christendom.

(53:44) Now goes to deliver money to Jerusalem church, but many wanted to reject it since he went along,did not adhere to the law. They wanted Paul to show he was a good Jew by helping a head shaving ceremony, and Paul went along. Then he was recognized. Fellow Jews who believed in Jesus the messiah called for his arrest. [AGAIN!]

After two years in prison, he gets on a boat to Rome.

This was after 35 years of missionary work.

Boat runs into the rocks at Malta, the fourth shipwreck Paul had survived. So a delay then he's back to Rome. Still under arrest, meets visitors. In prison there another two years.

His letters stop, and there is nothing in Luke's Acts about Paul's fate.

Traditions of the church give a bad ending for Paul, executed by Roman authorities.

But his letters lived on and became missionary tools around the Roman empire, making his mission a success.

[The End]