Case Number 12361: Small Claims Court


History Channel // 2007 // 1034 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 8th, 2007

The Charge's the book for me!

The Case

A&E blows the lid off of the all-time bestselling publication in human history. No, I'm not talking about Captain Underpants. It's the Bible silly. This humongous set that would give Leviathan pause packs over 17 hours worth of Judeo-Christian exegesis into seven stuffed discs and will test the tensile strength of even the most well-read religious man's DVD storage unit.

Here's what awaits on this set:

Disc One
"Abraham: One Man, One God"
The story of Abraham and the founding of the covenant with God.

"Herod the Great"
That bastard who killed all those kids looking for the Messiah.

"The 10 Commandments"
You know them, you love them, The Top 10 Rules to Live By get the spotlight.

Bonus: "The Lost Ark"
A historical look at what Indy yearns for.

Runtime: 141 minutes

Disc Two
"Jacob's Ladder"
The man who wrestled with an angel in all of his birthright-stealing, fake-arm-hair-having glory.

"Joseph: Master of Dreams"
It sounds like a David Copperfield special, but this program looks at the Technicolor dreamcoat Old Testament figure.

"Cain and Abel"
Wow, they filled 4 5minutes with this? The brothers who started the whole murder thing.

"Queen Esther: Far Away and Long Ago"
One of the female heavy-hitters from the Old Testament and a major figure in Judaism gets the History Channel treatment.

Runtime: 188 minutes

Disc Three
"King Solomon"
Wise and horny, one of the great kings of Israel has his life put under the microscope.

"King David: Poet Warrior"
Philistine-slaughterer extraordinaire, the stud king's life is set out on display, warts and all.

"The Last Revolt"
A look at the cataclysmic battle between the Jews and the Romans in 70 A.D. that led to the complete destruction of the temple.

"Archenemy: The Philistines"
So who were these guys, besides the Stormtroopers of the Old Testament?

Runtime: 188 minutes

Disc Four
"Jesus: Holy Child"
A portrait of The Man.

"The Execution of Jesus"
The most pivotal moment in Christianity -- and arguably human history -- gets the treatment.

Bonus: "The Shroud of Turin"

Runtime: 94 minutes

Disc Five
"The Lost Years of Jesus"
Things get speculative here when experts sniff around the missing parts of Jesus's life.

"The Last Supper"
Judas, bread, wine, all of it gets the expert rundown.

"Paul the Apostle"
The guy who helped propel Christianity into the mainstream receives an exhaustive biography.

Runtime: 141 minutes

Disc Six
"The Bible's Greatest Secrets"
Finally revealed!

"Biblical Angels"
More an Unsolved Mysteries episode than a super-serious look at the chorus of Heavenly Hosts.

"Heaven and Hell"
The afterlife: and what it means for your weekend! An examination of the claims of the eternal in Biblical orthodoxy.

"Apocalypse: The Puzzle of Revelation"
Experts hurt their brains and yours dissecting the most confusing book in the Bible.

Runtime: 188 minutes

Disc Seven
"Magic and Miracles"
A juxtaposition of Biblical miracles and references to magic in scripture.

"Prophets: Soul Catchers"
It sounds like the debut album of an '80s hair band, but this program is in fact a study of the major Old Testament conduits to God.

Bonus: "The Quest for the Holy Lance"
An interesting bit of history about the spear that pierced Jesus's side.

Runtime: 94 minutes

Lots of stuff here, enough to keep anyone interested in diving into the history of the Bible busy for a long, long time. The programs are fairly dated, but the information is still solid. Any out-of-date knowledge, the Shroud of Turin bits for example, could easily be supplemented with a cursory Google search.

Each show is segmented into "Acts," tackling a different angle of the show's focus. Expert testimony, from all sides of the faith gamut, are culled and the contributions of the teachers/researchers/scientists are supplemented with dramatic recreations, archaeological and real-world locale footage and an amazing amount of classical artwork. It's a tried-and-true method and serves this presentation well.

My favorite program? "Heaven and Hell," a controversial and divisive topic and the filmmakers pit two ecclesiastical sides against each other, Evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic. Oh yeah, it was a sweet smackdown.

Despite the age of the features, this is still a robust set featuring hours and hours and hours of Biblical grist to pore over. Recommended for budding Bible scholars.

The full frame video quality is lacking as the transfers certainly show their age; I can't imagine a VHS version of these shows being much worse in fact. Audio is 2.0 stereo. See the disc-by-disc breakdown for the list of bonus programs.

Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: History Channel
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 1034 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Bonus Programs

* Official Site