From Jesus to Christ (fwd)

From: Jeffrey Gibson (
Date: Thu Feb 12 1998 - 16:31:48 EST

For those on the list who are not SBL members and/or not
Crosstalk subscribers, the following message will be something which is
not yet known. I assume it is of interest.

Jeffrey Gibson

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 12:57:10
From: Bob Schacht <>
Subject: From Jesus to Christ

Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time. PBS is now advertising a
Frontline special, "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians", to be
broadcast on Mon & Tues, April 6 & 7. Their ad sez:

"He was born almost 2,000 years ago. He lived in Palestine. He was baptized
and became a preacher. And he was publicly executed. But that's only the
beginning of the story...

His name was Jesus of Nazareth, and in the span of 300 years, his followers
would create a religion that transformed the Roman Empire and the history
of the Western world.
FRONTLINE draws on New Testament scholarship and controversial new
historical evidence to tell the story of Jesus' life, his death, and the
men and women whose belief, conviction, and martyrdom created the religion
we now know as Christianity."

The Feb issue of Religious Studies News (the AAR/SBL rag) has a feature
article under the headline: "The Greatest Story Never Told: Behind the
Scenes at the Making of 'From Jesus to Christ,'" by L. Michael White at the
Univ. of Texas, Austin. The PBS series is the dream of Marilyn Mellowes, a
veteran producer at WGBH who was committed to bringing the findings of NT
scholarship to a public audience. White agreed in 1995 to become the
principal historical consultant and editorial adviser. (Who he? He's
Professor of Classics at UTA and director of their new Religious Studies
Program.) They decided to let interviews with scholars carry the weight of
the story, including the disagreements and critical problems. Of the
scholars discussed here on CrossTalk, recognizable talking heads will
include J.D.Crossan, Paula Fredriksen, Helmut Koester and Elaine Pagels,
among others.

The series is actually in four one hour segments:

1. the Pax Romana, dealing with the historical setting of the life & death
of Jesus;

2. "A Light to the Nations", focussing on the beginnings of the Jesus
Movement as a sect within Judaism, the missionary work of Paul, and
culminating with the dramatic failure of the First Revolt;

3. "Let the Reader Understand", covering the emergence of the Gospels and
tracing the experience of emerging Christian communities through the Second
Revolt and the growing split between Christians and other (non-Christian)

4. Kingdoms in Conflict then carries the story forward in the Roman world,
examining the diverse forms of Christianity, the legal status of the
movement, the beginnings of persecution, the proliferation of Gospels
literature, theological diversity, development of the Canon, and finally
the legitimization under Constantine.

So howcum they never asked us? :-)
(Probably because they had production schedules to meet, and CrossTalk has
never(?) conclusively answered any of the questions we've discussed!)

Hey Don Heatley, did you know about this project? We expect you to keep us
informed about all relevant video events, you know. ;-)

"Never argue with people who buy ink by the gallon."
                                --Tommy Lasorda

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