In his first part of his six-part series, “The First Christianity,” Professor MacCulloch describes how Christianity spread throughout the ancient world, and explores some of the modern and ancient evidence that points to its existence across not only the Western World and part of the Middle-East, but throughout the Eastern World as well. He erases the presumption that Christianity was a religion that only flourished in the Roman world. He also gives a inside look of how certain churches practice their worship ceremonies, while presenting several theories and church beliefs since that time. Professor MacCulloch manages to present this in a historical aspect while refraining from preaching Christian theology to his viewers.
He presents his work more in the form of an investigative, yet informative, style. He begins at the birthplace of Christianity, Jerusalem—much like a detective begins at a crime scene—and sprawls outward, going wherever the evidence leads him. It seems like this enriches the entertainment factor within his documentary as well.
It is also rather interesting to note how Professor MacCulloch uses his video from his adventure rather than substituting clips of art, or shots of artifacts here or there, as seen in other documentaries with third-person narrators. This documentary adheres strictly to using the shots the professor and his crew acquire from their investigation. This not only exposes the viewers to the current culture and sites, but may give them somewhat of a feel as though they were actually venturing with Professor MacCulloch himself—in essence, letting them see what he sees.
Overall, the documentary described the emergence of Christianity, its history and where it spread, traditional beliefs and practices, and also managed to be entertaining as well.
Personally, I would enjoy watching the next five parts of his series. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the the history of Christianity, history in general or to anyone just interested in learning.
Discover the Surprising History of the First Christians
New DVD series examines Christianity’s global roots.
There are two billion Christians in the world today, a third of humanity—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, and many more. Though Christians, by definition, are well-versed in the story of Christ and the apostles, many have given little thought to the details of their Christian heritage—the miraculous transferring of their faith from the first Christians huddled at Golgotha, across two centuries worth of cultures and languages, wars, and the rising and falling of empires. How did this small, obscure Jewish sect that preached humility and personal sacrifice become the biggest religion in the world? The answer will surprise you.
A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a six-part series co-produced by the BBC, the Open University, and Jerusalem Productions and presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the world’s leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St. Cross College, Oxford. As MacCulloch reveals the true history of Christianity, he explores the question, “What does it really mean to be a Christian?”
MacCulloch is one of the most widely traveled Christian historians, and A History of Christianity is the first retelling of the Christian story that is truly global in scope. Filmed in high definition, A History of Christianity takes viewers on a 2,000-year odyssey that reaches the farthest corners of the world, from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century, and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth.
The DVD set is available at retailers, including Sam’s Club. The series is also available on Amazon.com and www.ambrosevideo.com.
Episode 1 of "A History of Christianity" was provided by B&B Media Group to be honestly reviewed.