The history of Christianity and its Global impact. Over the last two millennia, Jesus of Nazareth-an itinerant Jewish preacher who was publicly executed-impacted history more than any other human being. Once a persecuted minority, his followers conquered nations, created artistic and architectural masterpieces, and committed atrocities. In this sweeping 13-part documentary, Bamber Gascoigne examines Christianity not as a religion, but as a potent historical force that continues to shape our world.
Filmed on location in more than 30 countries around the globe, The Christians shows how one faith has influenced a vast array of cultures and, in turn, how it has adapted to diversity. It takes a penetrating look at emperors and evangelists, monks and madmen, artists and inquisitors as it reveals the conflicts, reconciliations, and controversies of one of the world's most pervasive religions.
Bamber Gascoigne's 13-episode series, produced by the U.K.'s Granada Television and aired on ITV in 1977, comes to DVD in North America on November 3rd
. Acorn Media's Athena label is preparing a 5-disc set running 674 minutes, and costing $99.99 SRP in the USA and CA$124.99 SRP in Canada. Video is full frame; audio and subtitles are in English. In addition, the following bonus material is included:
- A new introductory segment by host Bamber Gascoigne
- 16-page viewer's guide includes highlights, questions to consider, avenues for further learning, timeline, and more.
- The Cultures of the Cross and Christ in Art photo galleries
- Architects of the Faith, select bios of people influential to Christianity
Here is an episode list, followed by a look at the package art:
- Episode 1: A Peculiar People - Beginning with the followers of an itinerant preacher in a backwater of the Roman Empire, Christianity became Rome's religion with astonishing speed.
- Episode 2: The Christian Empire - Between the 3rd and 6th centuries CE, Christianity evinced two contrasting impulses that persist to this day: worldliness and asceticism.
- Episode 3: The Birth of Europe - After waves of barbarians swept through the Roman Empire, Charlemagne struck a deal with Pope Leo III to establish both religious and political stability.
- Episode 4: Faith and Fear - Constantly living in the shadow of death, medieval Christians turned to relics to temper God's judgment and built mighty cathedrals to glorify Him.
- Episode 5: People of the Book - Jews, Christians, and Muslims hold sacred not only some of the same scriptures, but also some of the same sites, which they've fought over for centuries.
- Episode 6: Princes and Prelates - Leading up to the Renaissance, as many as three popes simultaneously claimed spiritual and political authority...while dissidents decried their corruption.
- Episode 7: Protest and Reform - Martin Luther's reformist ideas threatened to wreak theological and political havoc, but soon his acolytes had exported Protestant concepts all over Europe.
- Episode 8: The Conquest of Souls - In the 16th century, as Spain expanded Christianity into the New World, the Catholic Church countered the Reformation with its elite "shock troops," the Jesuits.
- Episode 9: In Search of Tolerance - Many Protestants persecuted breakaway sects as vigorously as the Catholic Church had attacked heretics. But when some victims sought refuge in America, they too turned tyrannical.
- Episode 10: Politeness and Enthusiasm - George Whitefield and John Wesley injected emotion into a faith that had become rational, genteel, and - for too many Christians - boring and irrelevant.
- Episode 11: Missions Abroad - By the 19th century, Europe had begun to export its own brand of commerce and Christianity to Africa, while industrialized urban poverty choked religion at home.
- Episode 12: The Roots of Disbelief - It took the Vatican two centuries to accept a heliocentric universe. But science proved only one threat to faith, and change often sparked a fundamentalist reaction.
- Episode 13: The Godless State? - Ironically, Christianity survived-even thrived-in Communist Russia and Poland, while Communism exerted itself in nominally Catholic Italy.