The History Of Christianity – The First Christianity Review: Lacking Viewer Faith

November 4, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

2THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY: Thursday 5th November, BBC Four, 9pm Alert Me

After Jesus Camp, a documentary dedicated to “what it means to be a Christian” is enough to make you cringe.

The History of Christianity, a new series, features a middle-aged professor dashing from continent to continent in search of Christianity’s forgotten origins and proving once again that religion-based entertainment is no easy feat.

In the first of a six-part series, we are introduced to Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, allegedly one of the world’s leading historians. Thanks to his parents driving him round ancient churches as a child, he is a modern-day priestly Indiana Jones.

From the start, he overturns popular belief by following the eastern route out of Jerusalem. You see, it is understood that the apostle Paul took Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome. But MacCulloch aims to prove that the true origins of the religion may lie further east–from Syria, all the way to China, and the headquarters of Christianity may well have been Baghdad.

The documentary’s concept is quite intriguing. But unfortunately for MacCulloch, his innovative attempts fall flat.

Despite tours of underrated churches and interviews with impassioned pundits, the hour is long and tedious. You begin to yearn for some crazy Christian antics. But all we get is one angry Buddhist woman in China. What faith is left for the five episodes to follow?

Danielle Jacoby