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Religions — History
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The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance [electronic resource]: The Medici Popes

Once the bloodline of the Medici extended into the clergy, it was perhaps inevitable that at least one Medici pope would appear. This program illustrates the intrigue and open conflict surrounding the rise of Pope Leo X (Giovanni de' Medici) and the subsequent Pope Clement VII (Giovanni's cousin, Giulio) in the early 16th century. Revealing the political and military machinations of both figures, the film also explores the interplay between Medici power-plays and the products of the era's intelligentsia-specifically, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes and Machiavelli's The Prince. Part of the series The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance.

Jerusalem Part 1 [electronic resource]: Center of the World

The first installment in the PBS series Jerusalem: Center of the World covers the historical beginnings of the city; its role as the hub of ancient Israel's religion and culture; information on major Old Testament leaders in the context of Jerusalem; the Assyrian conquest of Israel and the Babylonian Exile; post-Exile Jerusalem; and the ministry of Jesus.

Jerusalem Part 2 [electronic resource]: Center of the World

The second installment in the PBS series Jerusalem: Center of the World focuses on the city's evolution under Roman rule; its historical significance in both Christianity and Islam, past and present; the tensions that exist between Jews and Muslims in modern Jerusalem; and the uncertainties that lie ahead for the planet's most contested piece of land.

Shaker Town [electronic resource]: A More Perfect Order

Centered on faith, hard work, and the early stirrings of racial and sexual equality, the Shaker lifestyle was in many ways ahead of its time. But what was daily life like inside Shaker communities? Several years in the making, this program uses extensive archival footage integrated with reenactments and scholarly interviews to illustrate the Shakers' ordered, highly idealistic society. Visits to historic establishments in Pleasant Hill and South Union, Kentucky, shed light on distinctive Shaker crafts and architecture (churches, barns, houses, and furniture) as well as complex cultural and economic issues (financial management, dissolution of the traditional family structure, and more) that shaped the United Society of Believers.

Light and Mourning [electronic resource]

Has the Catholic Church become a ghost ship in search of a crew? Director Nicola Zavaglia reflects on this consequential issue with a documentary that brings you behind the closed doors of Catholicism. Featuring interviews with members of the Quebec and French clergy, as well as striking images shot in Rome and Calabria, Light and Mourning goes back to the roots of Christian belief in an attempt to explain the dramatic decline of the once powerful church in modern society. Two thousand years after Jesus, can the Catholic religion hope to flourish once again?

Believing [electronic resource]: Pilgrimage to Santiago

Goethe once said, "Europe was made on the pilgrim road to Compostela." Stretching from France to the Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela, where the cathedral is said to house the remains of James the Apostle, El Camino - or the Way of St. James - was the first great pilgrims' route. Millions made the long journey in an age when people rarely ventured beyond their village or town. Filmmaker Lina Moreco retraces their steps with her "pilgrim camera." She follows El Camino through the rolling landscape and ancient hill-towns of Galicia in a quest to understand the notion of faith in the closing days of the 20th century. Using the pilgrimage as a metaphor, this classic film explores the phenomenon of faith - in God and religion as well as in oneself. What are the wellsprings of faith? [...]

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

The Word and the Sword [electronic resource]

In this episode, Andrew Marr plunges into the spiritual revolutions that shook the world between 300 BC and 700 AD. This was an age that saw the bloody prince Ashoka turn to Buddhism in India; the ill-fated union of Julius Caesar and Egypt's Cleopatra; the unstoppable rise of Christianity across the Roman Empire and the dramatic spread of Islam from Spain to Central Asia. The most potent human force on the planet came from combining faith and military power; both Christianity and Islam created new empires of 'the word and the sword'.

The Story of God: Life, the Universe, and Everything--

"Beginning at the Gargas Caves, France--humankind's first house of worship?--this program seeks to understand why our ancestors began to believe in one or more divinities and how, through the ages, different cultures have expressed that belief. Great mysteries such as death and nature are considered as factors in the evolution of religious faith as Robert Winston, archaeologist Jean Clottes, The British Museum's Irving Finkel, and others discuss animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. The Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacán; Bambalapitiya Temple, Sri Lanka; the Great Stupa, Anuradhapura; and the Atashgah fire temple, Isfahan, are just some of the sacred sites visited" -- Container.
2006; 2005
Clemons (Stacks)

The Story of God: No God But God

"In this program, Robert Winston focuses on monotheism as he continues to examine the building blocks of faith and humankind's quest to plumb the nature of God. Visits to Mt. Sinai, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, St. Peter's Basilica, Mecca, and the Abalfazl and Imam Mosques, Isfahan, shed light on the beliefs that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have in common and the issues that divide them. Featured experts include scholar Zaki Badawi, historian Elizabeth Lev, authors Jonathan Kirsch and Jack Miles, and Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Britain"--Container.
Clemons (Stacks)

The Circles of Light [electronic resource]: Divine Comedy

The most celebrated work of Dante Alighieri is certainly the Divina Commedia-a vision of hell, purgatory, and heaven that provides a strangely surrealistic view of medieval attitudes on religious dogma and the price of disobedience. In this program, dramatizations of scenes depicting courtly love, sexual love, love of God, and love of the Virgin Mary are featured.
2009; 1995

The City of God [electronic resource]

Augustine of Hippo is a symbol of humankind in early medieval times, seeking to understand the terror and destruction resulting from the barbarian devastations of the Roman world, seeking to find the hand of God-and finding it in the counterpart to the destroyed city of man in the city of God. The program covers the church resurgence, filling the vacuum left by the collapse of civil government and changing to meet its new obligations and fill its new role in society; the creation of the Vulgate Bible; mass conversions; the rule of Pope Gregory the Great-the last of the Roman popes and the first of the European; monastic life; Romanesque architecture; and the role of the pilgrimage in medieval society.
2008; 1989

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 Jeweled City [electronic resource]: Cathedral of Chartres

The Cathedral of Chartres, built from 1150 to 1220 and widely recognized as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, is now a world heritage site. This program offers a narrated tour of the cathedral, along with a historical portrait of the political and religious fervor of the medieval architects who saw it through to completion.
2005; 1995

The Language of the Soul [electronic resource]: Abraham's Children

Apart from their outward differences in ritual and doctrine, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share an inward-pointing imperative to know God. In this program, clergy, theologians, and others with religious vocations delve into the esoteric aspects of three of the world's great religions. The use of meditation and contemplation as vehicles for transcending the mundane and drawing closer to the divine is examined, especially as exemplified by monastic life, Kabbalism, and Sufism.
2006; 1999

The Mystical Spirit of the East [electronic resource]: Masters and Disciples

Filmed on location in India, Japan, and elsewhere, this program provides insights into Hinduism; Mahayana, Hinayana, Tantric, and Zen Buddhism; and Shintoism. Religious leaders including 112-year-old Sri Swami Shivananda, deputy director of the Divine Life Society; Master Thich Nhat Hanh, founder of the Plum Village Zen community; His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and The Venerable Mr. Hatakake, head abbot of the Ise Shinto shrine, elaborate on the principles of their timeless religions.
2006; 1999

The One and the Many [electronic resource]: Pilgrims in a World of Faith

Whether for pardon, healing, inspiration, or enlightenment, a pilgrimage can be a journey through the kingdom of spirit. In this program, Paul Coelho, author of The Pilgrimage; His Holiness the Dalai Lama; the director of the Tiberias Center for Kabbalah and Healing; and others reflect on the history and significance of major pilgrimage destinations, including Santiago de Compostela, Mecca, Bodh Gaya, the Jordan and Ganges Rivers, the tombs of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai and Kobo Daishi, and Chamundi Hill.
2006; 1999

The Roots of Belief [electronic resource]: Animism to Abraham, Moses, and Buddha

Neanderthals begin burying their dead in sepulchers that simulate their huts in an attempt to connect with the spiritual world. When God first speaks to Abraham, he becomes the father of three great religions: Judaism, and subsequently Christianity and Islam. Moses leads the children of Israel out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Buddha, "The Awakened One," teaches humans to transcend their worldly desires. This program traces these stories, and their inevitable path toward the institutionalization of religious practice.
2006; 1998

The Truth Within [electronic resource]: Towards a New Spiritual Utopia

Why are many of today's spiritual seekers looking beyond the world's mainstream religions for fulfillment? And is technology eclipsing the concept of God? This program goes to the heart of those questions through interviews with Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy, as well as leaders of New Age organizations such as the Naropa Institute, the Krishnamurti Foundation, and the University of Creation Spirituality. In addition, Dr. Huston Smith, Father Laurence Freeman, Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and Sheikh Abd al-Wahid Pallavicini offer their opinions on the New Age movement.
2006; 1999

Three Pillars [electronic resource]: Confucius, Jesus, and Mohammed

The identities of the founders of three major religions-Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam-are studied in this program. The story of Confucianism and how its tenets spread to the Chinese social and political structure includes discussions about the yin (feminine principle) and the yang (masculine principle) The significance of Jesus as a prophet for Muslims, and God incarnate for Christians, is analyzed. Mohammed and the religion he created as codified in the Koran are examined. Temples, churches, and mosques are discussed as intrinsic to the practice of each religion.
2006; 1998