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The Bible Unearthed: The Making of a Religion - religion documentary DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 3 stars
Featuring: Israel Finkelstein, Neil Asher Silberman
Directors: Thierry Ragobert   Studio: First Run Features
DVD release: 23 June 2009   Runtime: 208 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), The Patriarchs, The Exodus, The Kings, The Book

The Bible is pretty darn old, and it's been translated into as many languages as there are (including Klingon, believe it or not). Despite the translations and varied interpretations, there are people out there who still believe in a literal translation of the Bible - never mind that things are inevitably lost in translation. What the The Bible Unearthed offers is an archeological investigation of the Bible. Authors Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman investigate different aspects of the Bible and try to authenticate their historical veracity in four fundamental ways.

The first part looks at the patriarchs of the Old Testament: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Did they exist and live in Canaan? If so, did they exist when the Bible said they did? The authors look at the ancient city of Megiddo, in which layer after layer of city is available to carefully uncover. Looking at the layered iterations of this city, they can discover evidence of the ancient times in which Abraham and his sons were supposed to have lived.

Part two looks at the exodus from Egypt. Is there an archeological record of the Exodus? Certainly if thousands of Jews left Egypt at one time, there'd be some record of the incident. Again, if it did happen at all, did it happen at the time the Bible said it did?

Part three looks at the kings of the Old Testament, including David, Solomon, and Josiah. What do architectural similarities in different ancient ruins tell us about the existence of these ancient kings? Did Joshua conquer the land of Canaan in two week's time, as the Bible says, or were there any Canaanites there to conquer?

The final part investigates the origins of the first Israelites and the emergence of the god of the South, Yahweh, as the dominant deity of the area.

Whether you're Christian, Jew, Muslim, or an old-school Zeus follower, The Bible Unearthed is a fascinating look into the emergence of the Judeo-Christian religions and the more likely truths behind some of the Old Testament's age-old stories. Don't worry about it shaking your faith - that's not the point - but it may shed some light on some things that have been thought true for thousands of years.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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