An archaeological detective story puzzles together clues to the mystery of who wrote the Bible, when and why. In this landmark two-hour special, viewers are taken on a fascinating scientific journey that began 3,000 years ago and continues today as NOVA travels to several excavations of ancient cities in the Near East, filming newly discovered remains and interviewing leading archeologists and biblical scholars. [Editor’s note: The American Family Association issued an “Action Alert” asking friends and family to sign a petition urging Congress to stop using tax dollars to fund PBS because “PBS is knowingly choosing to insult and attack Christianity by airing a program that declares the Bible ‘isn’t true and a bunch of stories that never happened.'”]
- The Old Testament was written in the sixth century BC and hundreds of authors contributed.
- Abraham, Sarah and their offspring didn’t exist.
- There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus.
- Monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.
- The Israelites were actually Canaanites.
- The Israelites believed that God had a wife.
Chapter 1: Merneptah Stele (6:45) Chapter 2: Who Wrote the Bible? (6:52) Chapter 3: The Exodus (8:53) Chapter 4: The Canaanite Cities (8:50) Chapter 5: Israelite Origins (9:19) Chapter 6: The Search for YHWH (7:04) Chapter 7: House of David (8:26 Chapter 8: Archeological Methods (10:17) Chapter 9: Architectural Evidence (6:55) Chapter 10: Ideas About Worship (9:18) Chapter 11: Birth of Judaism (11:02) Chapter 12: Sacred Scrolls (8:34) Chapter 13: The Bible Today (4:56)
“The Bible’s Buried Secrets is both a scientific detective story and dramatic adventure that digs deeply into the Bible and the history of the ancient Israelites through the archeological artifacts they left behind.”
— Paula S. Apsell, NOVA Senior Executive Producer
“It challenges the Bible’s stories if you want to read them literally, and that will disturb many people. But it explains how and why these stories ever came to be told in the first place, and how and why they were written down, and why they continue to resonate with us.” So it’s a very controversial film.”
— William Dever, Archeologist, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona, Tucson
“The producers have done a magnificent job summarizing over a century of biblical archaeology and biblical scholarship in two hours. The film strikes a balance between the old-fashioned biblical archaeology approach, which tried to prove the Bible’s historicity, and the extreme skepticism of some minimalists, for whom the Bible contains little factual history. The documentary reflects the view of most mainstream biblical scholars and archaeologists, namely that the Bible, although a theological work, does contain some historical memories of the ancient Israelites.”
— Kenneth Atkinson, Associate Professor of Religion, Department of Philosophy and World Religions, University of Northern Iowa