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The Sacraments [electronic resource]

After a brief overview of the religious tenets shared by all Christians, this program examines the sacraments of the Christian church, with attention to their varying expressions in Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and other denominations. Focusing on each sacrament individually-baptism, the Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, ordination, reconciliation (formerly called confession), and anointing of the sick-clerics and scholars explain what the rite consists of, its spiritual significance, how different denominations celebrate it, and what it means in the lives of individual Christians.
2011; 2013

Madwoman of God [electronic resource]

A story of the passion between a nun and God, her "divine spouse," Jean-Daniel Lafond's film paints an astonishing portrait of Marie de l'Incarnation - a mid-17th-century mystic who abandoned her son and left France to build a convent in Canada, where she became the first female writer in New France. A religious adventure story, the film shows actress Marie Tifo seeking to inhabit this unusual role. Using a script by Jean-Daniel Lafond, she tackles the nun's incandescent writing and her candid letters to her son. The documentary fuses actress and role, past and present - and takes us on a truly extraordinary historical and artistic journey.
2008; 2013

Jesus the Jew [electronic resource]

Written and presented by leading British writer Howard Jacobson, this program examines the story of the origins, and consequences, of Christian belief. The bare facts are that although Christianity originated in devout Judaism, for Jews, it has by and large been a calamity. The roots of anti-semitism that enabled the Holocaust lie in 2000 years of Christian vilification of the Jews based on the false accounts of Jesus's death written in the Christian New Testament itself. The four Gospels place the blame for Jesus's betrayal, arrest and agonising death on the cross on the Jewish people, accusing them of rejecting Christ and damning them for eternity as the "children of Satan". The result was a theology of hatred of the Jews, developed and embellished by later Church Fathers, that led [...]

Rome [electronic resource]

In 312 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine-the man who transformed Christianity from a clandestine handful of followers of Jesus Christ into one of the world's great religions with a global reach of over two billion worshipers-is believed to have had some sort of religious epiphany or vision that converted him from Paganism to the new faith of Christianity. This transformed a persecuted cult into a religion of power and privilege within the Empire-with Constantine as de facto head of both state and church. Michael Portillo uses his politician's mind to unravel the process by which Constantine and the church came together and questions how ruthless imperialism came to be reconciled with Christ's pacifist, altruistic values - 'blessed are the meek blessed are the poor'.

Crusades [electronic resource]

In the West, the Crusades are a chapter of Christian history that has little impact on our everyday lives, but in the Middle East many believe that the Crusades are happening again. In the wake of 9/11, ignorance of the brutal reality of the Crusades led President George W. Bush to describe the War on Terror as a 'Crusade'. Rageh believes this invocation of Christian Holy War alienated much of the Muslim world. Bush's comments have never been forgotten and are today exploited by Islamist terror organizations, who refer time and again to the West as Crusaders. On his journey through Europe and the Middle East, Rageh speaks to historians as well as ordinary people in order to understand how it is that events of 900 years ago can have such a divisive effect on relations between the West [...]

Dark Continents [electronic resource]

This program tells the story of how Christianity became the world's largest religion. Christianity in Mexico includes ancient indigenous concepts that have been adapted in what is now a genuinely Mexican faith. In Africa, the pattern was the same: missionary efforts came to little, wrecked by European social and cultural arrogance. And we learn that today's fast-growing African Christianity is far older than the missionary movement. In Ethiopia Christian traditions go back to the century of Christ. The pattern is the same across the former colonial world, in Asia, Africa and Latin America. No longer does Europe have a stranglehold on Christianity. A new indigenous Christendom has emerged in the developing world. And these new Christians believe it is Europe that now needs converting [...]

God and the Scientists [electronic resource]

For over fifteen hundred years, Christians saw the Bible as the primary source of knowledge, but in the seventeenth Century, the beginnings of a scientific revolution began to challenge the Christian view of the world. Eminent scientist Colin Blakemore interviews esteemed scholars and Churchmen in order to understand how Science has transformed Christianity over the last four centuries. He argues that science is the biggest challenge Christianity has ever had to face, and that it will eventually make religion unnecessary.

The Dark Ages and the Millennium [electronic resource]: Christianity in the 9th and 10th Centuries

Part one of this program probes the nature of Christian prayer, questioning Eastern reliance on icons rather than the Word, as in the West. Were the incessant attacks on Constantinople by Islamic and Bulgar forces a divine judgment for idolatrous behavior? Part two chronicles the chaos in Europe that broke out with the death of Charlemagne and the approach of the millennium. The ensuing political instability, combined with the questionable Cadaver Synod and fears of the Apocalypse, stood in stark contrast to the efforts of the Peace of God movement and the Abbey of Cluny to maintain order.
2007; 1999

The Last and First Days of Jesus [electronic resource]

This program investigates Jesus' presence in and around Jerusalem during Passover: his allegedly seditious activities, his subsequent arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, his trial at the palace, and his execution by crucifixion. The remains of the shops of the money-changers and the great temple itself are also explored. With his death and burial, the "Jesus file" is closed, except for one loophole: his miraculous resurrection.
2006; 1998

Trials and Triumphs in Rome [electronic resource]: Christianity in the 3rd and 4th Centuries

Part one of this program places Christianity-an outlawed faith-within the context of the religiously diverse Roman Empire, whose citizens worshipped the old Greco-Roman gods, mystery cult figures such as Mithra, and the Emperor himself. But by appealing to all people and promising eternal salvation, Christianity began to surpass the popularity of the Roman religions. Part two begins with Diocletian's Great Persecution; proceeds to Constantine's conversion, the Edict of Milan, and the Council of Nicaea; and closes with the excommunication of Theodosius.
2007; 1999

German Lutheran Churches [electronic resource]

When Lutheranism was born, the need for a new style of church was born along with it. Drawing on architectural examples from Germany and North America, this video connects principles of Lutheranism-for example, that everyone in the congregation should be able to see and hear everything that goes on in a service-to church shape, seating arrangement, and the placement of the altar, the pulpit, and the baptismal font. The religion's Roman Catholic roots are examined as well, in order to see how they influenced the design of these churches.
2006; 2005

Slovak Churches [electronic resource]

Straddling two worlds of Christian belief, Slovak churches are places where Byzantine and Roman Catholic religious traditions meet and merge. This video analyzes eastern- and western-style Slovak church design in two ways: first, it points out their underlying similarities by tracing their architectural roots back to their common ancestor, the basilica of ancient Rome; then, to explain their very visible differences, it follows the history of Christianity over the centuries immediately following the religion's division into its eastern and western branches. By reaching out in both directions, Slovak church architecture partakes of Constantinople and Rome in a way that is uniquely its own.
2006; 2005

The America of the Amish [electronic resource]

The Amish rarely allow themselves to be photographed or filmed, yet several members of the isolated religious community agreed to appear in this eye-opening documentary. Filmed on location in Pennsylvania and Ohio Amish country, the program goes beyond stereotypes and common misconceptions, presenting a fully human portrait of a misunderstood people. Interviews with Amish men and women-some born into the religion, some converts from other parts of the U.S.-reveal a range of opinions and sensibilities within the group's traditional stance on technology, education, and worship. Highlighting the rapid growth of the Amish population and their changing attitudes toward electricity, cell phones, cars, and other modern conveniences, the program will expand viewers' understanding of the Amis [...]
2006; 2005

Essentials of Faith [electronic resource]: Christianity

Beliefs spelled out in the Apostle's Creed link Christians around the world-but in practice, the faith has fractured. This program presents views from five insightful and widely differing believers who reveal their thoughts on conflict and harmony within Christianity. The participants are Terry Waite, author, humanitarian, and former hostage in Beirut; Ann Widdecombe, conservative British politician and Catholic convert; the Reverend Joel Edwards, General Director of the U.K. Evangelical Alliance; Bishop Richard Holloway, author of Godless Morality: Keeping Religion out of Ethics; and Alison Elliot, the first woman to be Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Who Authored the New Testament? [electronic resource]

Transitioning from ancient Jewish narratives to the emergence of the Jesus story, this program follows theologian Robert Beckford as he studies the authorship of the Gospels and subsequent New Testament books. Beckford's itinerary stretches from Jerusalem and Bethlehem to the Turkish ruins of Ephesus, then westward to Rome, London, and Bible-Belt America-underscoring the textual evolution that produced a standardized Bible and highlighting both ancient and modern politicization of the scriptures. Explanations of the translation process and of key technological shifts-from papyrus to vellum, for example-help create an account that is both intellectually and spiritually compelling.
2007; 2004

The Politics of Belief [electronic resource]: Protestantism and the State

Although Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a church door, his action sparked a political upheaval as well as a religious one. This program examines the rise of the Protestant movement in Europe and its link to revolution, civil war, and modern incarnations of radical and conservative politics. Studying the theology Luther crafted at Wartburg Castle and his confrontations with papal and secular authorities, the film explores Thomas Muntzer's bloody appropriation of Protestant ideals, the Levellers' movement under Cromwell, the birth of the British Labor Party, the role of Baptist teachings in the American civil rights movement, and the conservative Protestantism embodied in the presidency of George W. Bush.
2009; 2006

The Godly Family [electronic resource]: Protestantism in the Home

Martin Luther's most effective strike against the Church may have been his decision to marry. This program shows how Luther's radical choice and the Protestant movements of the 16th and 17th centuries transformed Western attitudes toward sex, love, marriage, gender roles, and family life. Viewers will learn about the contributions of several historical figures, including Thomas Cranmer's versions of the Book of Common Prayer, the misogynist rhetoric of John Knox, Richard Baxter's unexpected marriage and its implications, and the straitlaced culture promoted by Queen Victoria. The progression away from Victorian strictures and the inclusion of women and gays in the clergy are also studied.
2009; 2006

A Reformation of the Mind [electronic resource]: Protestantism and Western Culture

At the core of the Protestant Revolution was a new emphasis on exploring and questioning the natural world. This program shows how a religious upheaval that began a half-millennium ago led to the art, literature, and science of today's Western society. The film makes the case that a humanistic approach to art first grew out of the Protestant drive to remove images from European churches in the 16th and 17th centuries. It also examines the development of the modern novel via the Protestant-informed writings of John Bunyan, Daniel DeFoe, and Charles Dickens-then reveals the Protestant underpinnings of Newtonian physics, Darwin's theories, and our technological culture.
2009; 2006

No Rest for the Wicked [electronic resource]: Protestantism and Economics

In the 21st-century landscape of shopping malls and skyscrapers, capitalism appears irreligious-but beneath its secular veneer lie theological principles born in the 1500s. This program examines the rise of the Protestant work ethic and the religious foundations of Western industry; it also reveals a Protestant consciousness at the heart of social activism and the opposition to extreme capitalism. Beginning with John Calvin and his sanctification of material success, the film focuses on Britain's Nonconformist movement, John Winthrop's colonial ventures, the Puritan basis of Benjamin Franklin's ideals, and divisions that arose within Protestantism over slavery and the excesses of factory labor.
2009; 2006

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori [electronic resource]: Christian Parenti on Afghanistan

Emerging from under the cloud of bankruptcy, Northwest Airlines has cut