For those of you in the UK, here’s the third and final episode of BBC2′s The Bible’s Buried Secrets, hosted by University of Exeter’s Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou.
In the final episode of her series re-examining conventional readings of the Bible, she argues that the Garden of Eden has nothing to do with the origins of humanity, but is rather a story concealing dramatic events about a particular figure in a particular place, two and half thousand years ago.
The Bible’s Buried Secrets has certainly been a series which has provoked its share of international media stories. The second episode about Yahweh’s wife, Asherah, in particular has resulted in reports in Time Magazine, The International Business Times and on the Discovery Channel, the latter running the amusing headline, “Discovery News… wonders if God was a bachelor”. And from the many visceral knee-jerk reactions and disingenuous replies made by some of the more rabidly conservative Christian and Jewish commentators, these are evidently findings which many have a strong interest in denying. Yet, the series has also provoked many more thoughtful comments and discussion. It would be churlish and quite elitist to expect a television series to provide the tone or content which we might expect from, say, an academic book. Yet given the broad demographics of a general television audience, I am sure The Bible’s Buried Secrets has succeeded well in disseminating a few of the more interesting findings of mainstream Old Testament scholarship in an accessible and entertaining style.