The Bible’s Buried Secrets – Wikipedia


The Bible’s Buried Secrets

The BBC has also produced a short series[1] of nearly the same name (Bible’s Buried Secrets) covering similar themes presented by Francesca Stavrakopoulou.
The Bible’s Buried Secrets
Created by Providence Pictures
Narrated by Liev Schreiber
Country of origin United States
Running time 112 minutes
Original release
Network PBS
Release November 18, 2008

The Bible’s Buried Secrets” is a Nova program that first aired on PBS, on November 18, 2008.[2] According to the program’s official website: “The film presents the latest archaeological scholarship from the Holy Land to explore the beginnings of modern religion and the origins of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. This archaeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? Who wrote the Bible, when, and why? How did the worship of one God—the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emerge?”


The producers surveyed the evidence and take positions that are mainstream among archaeologists and historians, although they continue to raise objections among both Christians who believe in the bible as either literal or historical truth and minimalists who assert that the Bible has no historical validation.

The program airs archaeologists’ assertions that:[3]

On the Origins of Israel
On the development of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh
On the development of monotheism in Israel
  • The Israelite religion was not exclusively monotheistic from the beginning as suggested in the Hebrew Bible, rather, the archaeological evidence indicates that, before the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE, the early Israelites were polytheistic (or, rather, henotheistic) and worshiped the local god Yahweh alongside his “wife,” a fertility goddess named Asherah.
  • The emergence of monotheism and the belief in the universality of Yahweh was a response to the tragic experience of the Babylonian exile of the Israelites in the 6th century BCE. According to Dever, “It’s out of this that comes the reflection that polytheism was our [the Israelites’] downfall.”

Featured archaeologists and historians[edit]

Reviews and reception[edit]

The Biblical Archaeology Review wrote: “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.”[4]

According to Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz: “Conservative Judaism is fully accepting of the type of scholarship featured in this documentary.”[5]

Catholic theologian Kenneth R. Himes says: “For some, the ideas presented may seem novel or surprising, but this is material that is being discussed in the theology courses found at many Catholic universities.”[6]

The conservative American Family Association has issued an online petition urging the United States Congress to cut off federal funding for PBS.[7] “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,'” signers of the petition are encouraged to declare to members of Congress.[8]

Apologetics Press, a publishing organization affiliated with the Churches of Christ, has written a response to this program that is summarized with the concluding paragraph: “… if Christians are to change their minds about the historicity of the events recorded in the Hebrew Bible, a better case, supported by adequate evidence, would have to be made than the one presented in The Bible’s Buried Secrets.”[9]

The inerrantist Bible and Spade magazine dismissed the program as “anti-Bible propaganda”.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bible’s Buried Secrets (three-part 2011 BBC series) on IMDb
  2. ^ Boedeker, Hal, “‘Bible’s Buried Secrets’ from PBS’s ‘Nova’ Likely to Stir Controversy with its Look at Good Book’s Authorship”, Orlando Sentinel, July 14, 2008
  3. ^ Bible gets a reality check, Cosmic Blog: MSNBC, Alan Boyle
  4. ^ The Biblical Archaeology Review
  5. ^ Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz. “NOVA | The Bible’s Buried Secrets | Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz”. PBS. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  6. ^ Reverend Kenneth Himes. “NOVA | The Bible’s Buried Secrets | Reverend Kenneth Himes”. PBS. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  7. ^ New PBS program says Bible isn’t true, stories made up Archived 2013-02-21 at, AFA Action Alert, American Family Association
  8. ^ Josh Kimball. ‘Bible’s Buried Secrets’ Trailer Hits YouTubeChristian post
  9. ^ Dewayne Bryant. The Bible’s Buried Secrets Apologetics Press
  10. ^ “New PBS program says Bible isn’t true, stories made up – Associates for Biblical Research” Retrieved 2021-04-25.

External links[edit]


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