CNN Series Focuses on the Historical Jesus

CNN Series Focuses on the Historical Jesus

In a ramp up to Easter, the new CNN series “Finding Jesus” is using modern science and archaeological research in an attempt to shed new light on Jesus Christ.

The original series, which includes weekly, hour-long TV episodes and additional online content, is extremely popular. “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” as it’s officially called, has been rated CNN’s No. 1 original series. So far, the six-part series has aired two episodes.

The series is based on a book by the same title, co-written by David Gibson. Gibson said the show is intended to pique the interests of a wide audience. The intent is to find a common ground that appeals to believers and unbelievers alike, Gibson says.

So many programs similar to this one try to prove or disprove a certain faith, but “Finding Jesus” doesn’t seem to be an agenda either way. “We have a problem of fundamentalism,” Gibson says. “Believers always want to prove the faith, but faith by its nature isn’t going to be proved or disproved. We need to recover the idea that religion is a combination of faith and reason.”

Airing on Sunday evenings, “Finding Jesus” presents expert testimony from scientists and religious leaders alike, as well as historical background and archaeological evidence. The first episode focused on the iconic Shroud of Turin and ultimately left the debate over its authenticity to the viewer to settle. Last Sunday’s episode took a closer look at John the Baptist, and next week’s show will feature the Gospel of Judas, which was taken from a codex found in an Egyptian burial cave in the 1970s.

CNN also has additional material about Jesus on its website. One article, “Five things you didn’t know about Jesus,” talks about Jesus coming from a town—Nazareth—of n more than 400 people. It also states that Jesus had to learn something before he could know it, and that he likely worked very hard at not only carpentry, but as a stonemason and general laborer as well—physically demanding work that would have made Jesus very tough.